Production/Agronomy

Potato crop in danger after months of extreme weather in Northern Ireland

Rain is urgently needed to save this season’s local potato crop, an industry figure has warned. Stuart Meredith, an agronomist with Wilson’s Country potato firm, said a particularly wet autumn, followed by one of the driest springs on record, had caused severe problems that had led to eight months of “absolute extremes for growers”. The east of Northern Ireland has been worst affected by the lack of rain.

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Focus on biostimulants: Keep potato crops stress free with ‘Bridgeway’

Keeping potato crops stress free is not an easy job for growers, particularly when one considers the key growth periods of June through to August are also potentially some of the most stressful for the crop, with temperature and drought stress being particularly prevalent. Interagro’s Bridgeway biostimulant product is said to offer the possibility of reducing stress by improving root health and by increasing the rate of photosynthesis.

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Podcast: Adding to the potato rotation to boost soil health

This episode of the Potatoes in Canada podcast series “Tuber Talk” focuses on the practices in Prince Edward Island, one of Canada’s largest potato producing provinces. Ryan Barrett, research coordinator with the P.E.I. Potato Board, shares what crops P.E.I. producers are adding to the rotation to boost soil health. Barrett discusses what they’ve seen with mustards, buckwheat, sorghum sudangrass, Pearl millet, on top of sharing his experiences working on the Island.

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Medius Ag announces expanded agricultural data management services, new Director of Business Development

Agricultural data management company Medius Ag is announcing the expansion of its software solutions to a broader range of commodities around the globe through the launch of its new platform, Medius.Re. Medius Ag is also announcing the addition of Ryan Krabill as the company’s Director of Business Development. Mr. Krabill, a 15-year veteran of U.S. agriculture and early collaborator with Medius Ag, will manage outreach to other commodities around the globe from his office in Denver, Colorado.

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Haith helps the Jersey Royal Company reduce labour costs with new de-stoners

Jersey’s largest grower, packer and marketer of Jersey Royal new potatoes has seen a significant reduction in labour costs this season thanks to a project undertaken with the Haith Group. Jersey’s largest grower, packer and marketer of Jersey Royal new potatoes has seen a significant reduction in labour costs this season thanks to a project undertaken with the Haith Group.

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Strengthening innovation to empower women potato growers in the Andes

The world is faced with a rising demand for food due to population growth, changes in dietary habits and the availability of agricultural resources. As a result farmers need to be more efficient and productive. The story of Gaby Quispe of Patacamaya, Bolivia, is typical and gives a simple illustration of how to achieve gender equity and the empowerment of rural women through the use of climate-smart technologies in potato production.

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UPGC released planting recommendations for 2020 Canadian potato crop

The United Potato Growers of Canada released the following information regarding planting recommendations for the 2020 potato crop. As growers head to the fields with their potato planters, much uncertainty lies about future demand for the crop and what is the appropriate supply to meet the needs of the public as their buying and eating habits evolve due to COVID-19 distancing requirements.

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Chinese potato production and export likely to grow this year

The global potato price increased because the production volumes in major production areas declined. The price is already higher than in the last 6 years. The Chinese potato price is lower than the global average. The global price rise therefore stimulates the expansion of potato production in China.

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Idaho-based Eagle Eye Produce releases spring potato planting video

It’s been said that seeing is believing, and sometimes giving customers and consumers a peek into your operations is a surefire way to gain their trust. This is a strategy Eagle Eye Produce has long believed in, launching innovative short videos to spread its message in a unique way. Most recently, the company released a montage video highlighting its spring potato planting in Eastern Idaho.

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Potato late blight in Europe

Didier Andrivon from INRA delves into the disease that once killed 1.5 million individuals in Ireland: Potato late blight, also known as Phytophthora Infestans It would be easy to think that a disease peaking over one hundred years ago is no longer a problem, but potato late blight continues to evolve and emerge in new places – similarly to the insidious reach of[Read More…]

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Coronavirus pandemic leads to Idaho potato market distress

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a once strong potato market to make an abrupt about-face, leading some Idaho growers to dump surplus spuds from storage cellars or to feed them to cattle. Just a few weeks ago, Idaho potato farmers were enjoying some of their best fresh prices in recent memory and anticipated supplies would run short in the coming summer. The combination of lower spud yields and widespread frost damage during the 2019 harvest had contributed to a smaller statewide crop than normal, the Post Register reported Saturday.

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Packer Interview – Houston Food Bank reports on the ‘Buy Fresh’ program

The Packer’s Tom Karst visited April 24 with Sabrina Bosiacki, agriculture industry manager for the Houston Food Bank, about the promise of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Buy Fresh Program. “The amount of need that we’re seeing right now is unprecedented,” Bosiacki said. “Just two days ago (April 22), we distributed 1.3 million pounds of food in a single day, which far surpasses our old record that we had attained post-hurricane Harvey; so we’ve never seen anything like this before since we became a food bank in the 80s.”

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BlightCast now live and running for the 2020 potato season in the UK

Syngenta’s BlightCast tool is now live and running for the 2020 season, to give British potato growers and agronomists a clear picture of impending blight pressure and risks – in time to make active application decisions. “BlightCast showed the first Hutton Criteria hits for the site were on the 16th August, but no Smith Periods were triggered until 24th August; in that time the visual assessment of blight inoculated trials went from virtually nothing detectable to widespread infection,” says Syngenta potato specialist, Rob Farrow.

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Canada: Prince Edward Island’s 2020 potato acreage dependent on contracts, but storability is a concern

Just before the COVID-19 pandemic brought physical meetings to a standstill, the board of directors of United Potato Growers of Canada held a face-to-face meeting in Ottawa to review potato stocks and discuss the market situation across the country. General Manager Kevin MacIsaac noted stocks nationally were down 1.9 per cent or one million hundredweight over the three-year average as of March 1. He said that Prince Edward Island holdings were up 3.9 per cent.

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Are potato plants sick or just thirsty?

A potato study utilizes irrigation system feedback to distinguish between “thirst” and disease. The three-year project is supported by the Texas Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant program. “If you were just assuming it was a healthy plant, then you would put water on it. But if it is really a diseased plant, then putting water on it is not going to help at all. Matter of fact, it may make the disease worse,” according to Charlie Rush, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathologist.

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Potato and tomato blights in Europe: Multi-actor research is crucial for sustainable control

Didier Andrivon from INRA directs our thoughts to potato and tomato blights in Europe and argues that multi-actor research is crucial for sustainable control. Controlling blight epidemics have long relied almost exclusively on repeated applications of synthetic fungicides. It is not uncommon for potato crops to receive 15 or 20 sprays a season to keep blights at bay. However, this strategy while efficient, is not sustainable.

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As french fry demand diminishes, potato acres expected to drop in Canada’s Manitoba province

Manitoba potato growers are feeling the impact of COVID-19, Cory Knutt of PembinaValley Online reports. According to Dan Sawatzky, Manager of Keystone Potato Producers Association: “Acreage will be down this year,” he said. “An estimate might be in that 67,000 range, which is similar to a couple years back. We are seeing demand for fries diminishing, certainly with the COVID-19 virus.

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Potato processors in many countries cut contracted acres

There will be fewer acres of Russets going into the ground in northern states this spring as processors cut back on their contracted acres in response to a reduction in sales of frozen french fries and other potato products, reports Ann Bailey in the Grand Forks Herald. Contracted potato acres in the western European countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany and the United Kingdom could be reduced by nearly 8%.

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New protocols for N applications in potatoes

A new protocol for estimating the determinacy – how crops utilise fertilisers – of potato varieties will be released in the next few months and will be added to the AHDB’s Nutrient Management Guide (RB209). This should help breeders and those involved in variety development, save time and money when producing nitrogen recommendations for new varieties. From this, growers and agronomists will gain more accurate nitrogen/determinacy groupings for both new and existing cultivars, and thus fine-tune the N rates applied to crops.

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Idaho potato contract terms slightly higher, but mixed amid COVID fallout

French fry processors will pay Idaho potato growers a slightly higher price this year, but will order fewer because of lower demand from restaurants and foodservice outlets closed by the COVID-19 shutdowns, Capital Press reports. The annual contract between growers and processors calls for a 2% price increase from 2019, in response to growers’ higher labor and machinery costs, said Dan Hargraves, acting executive director of the Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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