Research

Sustainable solutions: Netafim’s drip irrigation shows significant benefits for potato farmers and the environment

Netafim, a leader in precision agriculture, revealed a Life Cycle Analysis showing significant environmental benefits of drip irrigation for potato cultivation, especially in reducing Global Warming Potential (GWP) and water use compared to rain gun systems. The study, done with Potato Solutions and Drip UK, found drip irrigation reduces fresh potato GWP by 54% and water use for processing potatoes by 40%.

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Tech against moths: “Attract-and-kill” technology to safeguard potato crops

Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) are combating the destructive Guatemalan potato moth, Tecia solanivora, which has plagued potato farmers in Tenerife since 1999. Using innovative techniques like “Attract-and-Kill” technology and the ILCYM Predictor, they aim to protect potato crops from severe economic impacts. These methods lure moths with pheromones and forecast pest behavior, ensuring effective pest management and agricultural sustainability.

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Leading potato pathologist the first recipient of Potatoes Australia’s Ross Trimboli Award

Dr Nigel Crump received the inaugural Ross Trimboli Award for Industry Leadership and Advocacy at the World Potato Congress Gala Dinner. Named after South Australian industry stalwart Ross Trimboli, the award honors Dr Crump’s 20-year dedication to the Australian potato industry. He leads partnerships, combats food insecurity, and oversees seed potato certification. He is also Interim Chair of industry organisation Potatoes Australia Inc, the host of the Congress.

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‘HCIP210’: The new potato variety set to significantly boost incomes of smallholder farmers in tropical regions

The Syngenta Foundation and the International Potato Center teamed up with HZPC to create HCIP210, a potato variety tailored for tropical climates. The public-private partnership known as TAP5. The new variety, developed in under eight years, offers higher yields and better disease resistance compared to older European varieties. HCIP210 meets market requirements with fewer inputs, supporting sustainable agriculture and smallholder farmers in the tropics.

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Future-focused farming: Potato growing insights and innovations from The Hutton Institute on display at Arable Scotland

Farmers attending Arable Scotland on 2 July will receive practical insights from agroecologist Alison Karley, whose 25-year experience in plant production and ecology aids in showcasing sustainable cropping techniques. The event will feature field plots, reduced-input arable crops, the ‘BlightSpy’ decision tool for potato blight, and tests on companion crops to delay aphid infestations. Demonstrations will also focus on cover crop effects on soil health.

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WUR participates in major international research on climate-resilient crops

The Ancient Environmental Genomics Initiative for Sustainability (AEGIS) seeks to use historical DNA to devise more resilient crops. Wageningen University & Research, along with other institutions, will utilize a 78 million euro grant to analyze ancient DNA to understand past ecosystems and crop responses to climate change. This knowledge aims to reintroduce valuable genetic traits into modern crops, enhancing their resistance to diseases and climate stress.

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James Hutton Institute opens pioneering crop storage research facility in Scotland

A new Crop Storage and Post-harvest Solutions (CSPS) facility has opened at the James Hutton Institute in Invergowrie, Scotland, funded by the Scottish and UK Governments. The facility focuses on studying the effects of temperature, gas composition, and humidity on stored crops. Led by Professor Derek Stewart, the research aims to prolong shelf life and address the challenges posed by climate change and regenerative agriculture.

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EWRN Workshop: Global experts unite to tackle wireworm challenges in potato production

The European Wireworm Research Network (EWRN) will host a workshop on July 7th at the Scandic Fornebu Hotel in Oslo, Norway, focusing on wireworm infestations in potato crops. Keynotes include experts discussing management, challenges, and risk assessment. Country updates and scientific posters will be presented, and participants will engage in collaborative discussions. This event aims to unite researchers and professionals in addressing wireworm issues.

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From field to flavor: Growing the future of Lay’s, one potato seed at a time

Josh Parsons, an R&D scientist at PepsiCo’s Rhinelander, Wisconsin, farm leads a team combining traditional breeding with modern tools to cultivate high-quality potatoes for Lay’s chips. They grow new potato varieties through data-driven cross-pollination. These varieties are selected for yield, disease resistance, nutrition, and taste, aligning with PepsiCo’s sustainability and nutrition goals. Despite the lengthy nine-year development process, only a few seeds become successful.

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Dalhousie’s McCain Research Chair secures five more years of support from McCain Foods and Potatoes New Brunswick

McCain Foods and Potatoes New Brunswick have extended their support for Dalhousie University’s McCain Research Chair, reinforcing their commitment to sustainable agriculture and food security. Dr. Ahmad Al-Mallahi, holding this position since 2018, focuses on developing advanced agricultural technologies. His team has produced prototypes that optimize farm productivity and will continue for another five years.

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The fascinating intelligence of potato plants: Insights researchers are confirming, but farmers already know

The concept of plant intelligence is revolutionizing agriculture, highlighting potatoes’ ability to perceive and respond to environmental stimuli through complex biochemical processes. This intelligence allows potatoes to adapt, communicate, and solve problems, such as optimizing root systems and photosynthesis. Recognizing these abilities can advance farming techniques, making them more sustainable and productive. Recent studies underscore how potatoes utilize these capabilities for nutrient uptake, pathogen resistance, and overall survival, offering strategies for precision agriculture and sustainable farming practices.

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Fight Against Blight: James Hutton Institute secures funding to continue vital late blight monitoring and testing

The James Hutton Institute secures additional funding to continue its role in the Fight Against Blight (FAB) scheme, protecting Britain’s potato crops against late blight. Initiated in 2006, the scheme involves a network of FAB Scouts monitoring Phytophthora infestans across the UK. This project, vital for early detection and management of new resistant strains of blight, is supported by a consortium of industry leaders. Despite challenges like resistance and regulatory pressures, the collaborative effort aims for effective blight control and sustainable farming practices.

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Would you like fries with that drought resistant potato?

Dr. Bourlaye Fofana and AAFC researchers are evaluating 384 diploid potato clones for drought resistance and maturity traits. They aim to enhance genetic diversity and resilience in potatoes. Focusing on diploids could lead to new varieties better adapted to climate changes. 50 promising clones will progress in the breeding process, potentially improving future potato crops in Canada. This research aims to create potatoes that are early or moderate-late maturing with drought resistance.

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Unlocking potato plant defenses: Calcium’s role in fighting bacterial wilt in potatoes

Researchers have found that calcium significantly boosts resistance in potatoes against bacterial wilt, a pathogen impacting global potato production with annual losses of $19 billion. The study demonstrates calcium’s potential as soil amendments to counter bacterial wilt. Researchers noted a correlation between calcium levels and disease resistance, suggesting new integrated disease management avenues with focus on calcium enrichment strategies. This could lead to advances in potato breeding and agricultural practices aimed at enhancing disease resistance.

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A reduced fertilizer future? AAFC’s latest Plowdown Challenge explores manure’s potential in potato farming

When Scott Anderson and Roger Henry from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) launched the AAFC Plowdown Challenge last year, they aimed to engage farmers in guessing the yield of the Mountain Gem potato variety grown without fertilizer, using manure instead. After a successful year, they introduced a new twist with manure to potentially enhance soil benefits this year. The challenge demonstrates alternative sustainable farming by utilizing residual soil nutrients.

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Pioneering study highlights need for climate-resilient potato cultivars amidst global warming

A study by researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, published in Frontiers in Plant Science, reveals significant challenges potato cultivation faces due to climate change. The research team underscores the importance of developing stress-tolerant potato varieties to maintain global food security amid rising temperatures, drought, and increased pest incidences. The study includes advancements in understanding potato plants’ molecular responses to environmental stress, critical for breeding resilient cultivars.

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New study reveals the complex drivers and barriers affecting best management practices among potato producers

A comprehensive study from the University of Guelph and SunRISE Potato reveals motivators and barriers in adopting best management practices (BMPs) among Ontario’s potato producers. Enhanced by a System Thinking approach, the research indicates that personal values largely drive adoption, yet structural challenges like market access and stringent regulations hinder it. Insights from this study can inform targeted strategies to improve BMP adoption and enhance sustainable agriculture.

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UK seed potato body combats climate-driven challenges

The UK’s Seed Potato Organisation (SPO) considers extreme weather a significant threat to Scotland’s seed potato sector. Rising temperatures have increased aphid-induced diseases, endangering Scotland’s otherwise virus-free crops. Representing a third of Scotland’s seed potato acreage, SPO funds initiatives to combat these issues, including aphid-confusing tactics and supporting disease monitoring projects like those by the James Hutton Institute.

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Strategic investment in UK potato industry: AHDB proposes funding for key projects using residual levy funds

The AHDB plans to invest £1.8 million in leftover levy funds into seven projects to advance the UK potato industry, emphasizing disease management, crisis response, and sector challenges. The projects will address blight, aphids, viruses, public reputation, data transparency, CIPC residue, and nutrient management. With industry support and awaiting ministerial approval, the funding distribution is set for three to five years, aiming to boost potato farming’s future.

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International Potato Center launches ambitious survey to revolutionize potato varieties in the Global South

The International Potato Center, backed by CGIAR, launched a survey to improve food security in the Global South by developing resilient potato varieties. It seeks data from various agricultural stakeholders to tailor breeding programs to regional needs, thus enhancing yield and sustainability. This effort combines market needs analysis, sustainable practice evaluation, and understanding farmer and consumer preferences to address climate impact on food systems.

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The subtle science of potassium application: Enhancing potato quality without compromising yield

Sarah Light and her team studied how potassium chloride application timing affects potatoes, finding that fall applications don’t increase plant chloride and may reduce chloride accumulation since it leaches below the root zone. Their research indicates no significant impact on nitrogen levels, yield, or tuber specific gravity, regardless of fertilizer timing. The study, funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, contributes to optimizing fertilizer use in agriculture.

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Unlocking the potential of the humble spud: Scientists explore ways to climate-proof potatoes

Potatoes, the world’s fourth most important crop, are under threat from climate change, with rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, and extreme weather challenging production. This article by Lukie Pieterse reviews strategies for enhancing potato resilience, such as breeding climate-tolerant varieties and adopting biotechnology and sustainable practices. Collaborative efforts are vital to secure this staple food’s future, ensuring global food security amidst a changing climate.

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Study predicts significant future decline in potato yields on Prince Edward Island due to climate change

Researchers from the University of Prince Edward Island predict significant declines in potato yields due to climate change. Published in the journal Foods, the study forecasts a 6-10% decrease in yields under low-emission scenarios, and up to a 60% drop by the 2070s under high emissions, possibly reaching an 80% reduction by the 2090s. The study underlines temperature increases and variable precipitation as major factors affecting growth and urges the implementation of adaptation strategies.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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