Seed

Royal HZPC Group navigates market volatility: Financial stability amid fluctuating yields and global expansion

Royal HZPC Group forecasts a similar financial outcome for 2023/2024 as last year, with an expected 4% increase in turnover. Despite low European yields, sales exceeded expectations, especially in licensed tonnage in America and Asia, contributing to this growth. Financial challenges persist due to high yields in other regions and potential costs in politically unstable areas. The company also recovered funds from a cyberattack, closing that incident.

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Value of Scottish potato industry more than just ‘small potatoes’

Potatoes, despite their versatile use in food and non-food sectors, have seen a dramatic 71% decline in UK’s fresh potato demand since the 1970s. According to a report by SRUC, Scotland remains more stable in potato production compared to the entire UK, accounting for significantly higher portions of seed potatoes, crucial due to its disease-free status. Scotland’s seed potato sector, highlighted for its economic importance, supports substantial employment and generates significant economic output.

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Seed potato institute in France launches comprehensive English-language website to boost global outreach

Inov3pt, the Agricultural Technical Institute of Seed Potato in France has recently launched a comprehensive English-language website aimed at broadening its international engagements. The platform, accessible via www.inov3pt.fr, features detailed information on the institute’s missions, projects, and potato research innovations. It presents a hub for global agricultural connections, emphasizing collaborative and educational resources to advance potato science and foster shared learning worldwide.

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New short course lets students of all ages get their hands dirty as tattie roguers

The UK’s unique tattie roguing course by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is a gateway for job seekers to enter Scotland’s esteemed seed potato industry. Offering practical training on disease identification and crop maintenance, the course equips students with a certificate indicating their competency. With increasing plant diseases, skilled roguers are in high demand, addressing the vital need for crop health preservation.

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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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Europatat and coalition call for reevaluation of Plant Reproductive Material legislation due to concerns over disease spread

Europatat and key agricultural bodies expressed alarm over changes to the EU’s Plant Reproductive Material legislation up for a vote in April’s final week. The coalition opposes AGRI Committee’s amendments which may allow unchecked seed movement, raising the risk of disease and damaging sustainability efforts. They advocate for the European Parliament to maintain the Commission’s original balance to prevent a sector crisis.

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Why industry-wide effort is needed to tackle potato virus threat in the UK

Europe’s seed potato crops are increasingly affected by viruses, necessitating immediate adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. Data from Scotland shows a worrying trend in crop downgrades due to viruses, with a rise to 15.4% downgraded and 1.8% failed crops. Milder winters and hotter summers expedite pest survival and breeding, exacerbating the issue. Experts underscore the need for prevention and management, while maintaining the high health of Scottish potato seeds.

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European potato sector sounds alarm over new seed marketing rules ahead of Parliament vote

The EU Parliament’s proposal to relax seed marketing rules, including for seed potatoes, has raised alarms in the potato industry due to increased disease transmission risks. The new regulation, which supersedes ten previous directives and includes exemptions overshooting what the European Commission suggested, might lead to a shadow market of seeds, jeopardizing production as pests like wireworms thrive, partly due to climate change.

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Elders Ltd celebrates 185 years with landmark sponsorship of World Potato Congress in Adelaide

Elders Ltd, an Australian agricultural services company and certified seed potato supplier, has announced its major sponsorship of the 2024 World Potato Congress in Adelaide. Celebrating 185 years, Elders aims to foster innovation and sustainable practices through support of this key industry event. The Congress will focus on global industry trends, including changing markets and customer preferences. Elders invites industry stakeholders to participate in the event for valuable knowledge sharing and networking.

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1,4GROUP reinforces North American potato industry: Shifts CIPC production to the U.S.

1,4GROUP has relocated chlorpropham production to the US following its European ban, ensuring supply for North American customers. The EPA and PMRA have approved the new US production site, maintaining the availability of this crucial sprout inhibitor. CEO Elfering expresses gratitude to the agencies and reaffirms commitment to quality products for the potato industry.

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Transforming Uganda’s potato value chain: A Kilimo Kisasa success story of sustainable production

Potatoes are key for food security and income in Uganda, with demand growing for Dutch varieties favored by the processing industry. Kilimo Kisasa Limited is changing the Ugandan agricultural scene by locally multiplying these desirable varieties, therefore offering a cost-effective and sustainable option for farmers. Through partnerships, Kilimo Kisasa is advancing sustainable practices, enhancing food security, and increasing farmer incomes.

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Kayla Spawton spearheads groundbreaking work at U of I’s state-of-the-art seed potato facility

Kayla Spawton leads the University of Idaho’s Seed Potato Germplasm Program, critical to Idaho’s key industry, with 60% of U.S. potatoes traceable back to their lab. The state’s largest crop earned $1.3 billion in 2023. Spawton, a plant pathology Ph.D., manages a state-of-the-art facility, focusing on disease-free potato plantlet and mini-tuber production. Her plans include efficiency research and implementing cryogenic preservation to advance the program.

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Solynta’s strategic transformation: Embracing a seed-driven future in potato farming

Solynta, a Dutch hybrid potato seed company, has rebranded to ‘Solynta – true potato seeds’ to align with its market strategy. The company, leading in hybrid potato breeding tech, offers seeds that produce disease-resistant potatoes, enhancing sustainability. With global patents and new leadership, Solynta has expanded trials and partnerships in 40 countries, reinforcing its commitment to food security and providing disease-free seeds to farmers worldwide.

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Moderate seed potato crop in Western Europe results in historic high prices, lower acreage expected in 2024

Seed potato acreage in the Netherlands, Germany, and France is declining, hitting less than 40,000 hectares in the Netherlands, a trend continuing for the third year. Wouter Mutsaers of Q-potato Holland highlights difficulties in managing increased disease pressure and reduced quality and quantity of seed potatoes due to poor conditions. Despite high prices, acreage is not expanding as usual, raising concerns over the supply for ware potato cultivation next season.

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Agrico and The Potato Company to unite: A strategic acquisition to redefine the seed potato industry

Agrico is set to acquire The Potato Company’s seed potato operations, aiming to meet growing global demand. This move, founded on a successful partnership, will enhance Agrico’s presence in Western Europe’s competitive market. TPC will function as a subsidiary, bringing in extensive expertise and a large distribution network. Both companies view the acquisition as beneficial, promising improved returns for growers and setting new industry standards for innovation and cooperation.

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Navigating global challenges: Royal HZPC Group matches previous year’s success and prepares for leadership change

Royal HZPC Group weathered a difficult 2023 in potato breeding, with reduced yields in Europe but expected financial parity with the previous year. Adapting through sales of top seed sizes and exceptional permissions outside the EU, the company offset a 10% European sales drop with a global 3% tonnage increase. A stable €420 million turnover is projected despite debt collection concerns. CEO Gerard Backx will retire in 2024, succeeded by seasoned executive Hans Huistra, promising continued growth and innovation.

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HZPC Americas welcomes Deron Beck to lead product management, strengthening its North American operations

HZPC Americas Corp. has welcomed Deron Beck as their new Product Manager on December 1st, 2023. Boasting a 15-year background in vegetable research and a Masters in Plant Science, Beck’s expertise lies especially in potato-related work. Beck is set to revolutionize the company’s trial planning and product development. HZPC, leading in seed potato trading, operates with 400 employees in 16 countries.

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EU faces dire potato seed supply challenges for 2024 growing season, prices soar

The EU faces a challenging 2024 for potato cultivation with a seed shortage due to a 10,000-hectare decrease in seed-producing areas. Belpotato.be reports average yields and larger seeds with fewer tubers, compounded by viral issues and poor harvests due to rains. Seed prices are rising sharply, affecting all potato sectors. Producers may need to look for seeds outside traditional channels, while industry-wide efforts are needed to stabilize seed cultivation for sustainability.

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Canada’s Prince Edward Island growing a potato partnership with Ukraine

Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) is sharing its renowned potato-growing expertise to aid Ukraine’s economic recovery. Former MP Wayne Easter’s P.E.I.-based company initiated a large-scale potato planting and harvesting operation in Ukraine, adapting to local conditions by using Scottish seeds. This project supports Ukraine’s reduced imports from Belarus due to strained relations, aligning with the nation’s need for economic advancement as stressed by the Ukrainian Prime Minister.

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Groundbreaking potato virus detection technology emerges from China’s Sichuan province

Western (Chongqing) Science City has introduced a Potato Seed Virus Nano Microsphere Immunoassay Rapid Diagnostic Kit, designed by Professor Lyu Dianqiu’s team. This significant development offers quick, efficient diagnosis of potato viruses, delivering results in 5 minutes, including for PVX and PVY – far faster than old methods. With high sensitivity and cost-effectiveness, it’s suited for field use, boosting potato quality and yields in China’s major potato region. The kit has reached international markets, aiding Belt and Road Initiative countries.

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A new era in seed potato production: Collaborative efforts to boost seed potato quality in Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has partnered with the Wisconsin Potato Coalition to enhance seed potato production at Starks Early Generation Seed Potato Farm. This collaboration aims to provide clean early-generation foundation seed to Wisconsin’s potato industry. The coalition, comprising experienced growers, will manage the farm’s operations, while university scientists and inspectors will oversee testing and certification, ensuring high-quality seed potatoes for Wisconsin’s $350 million potato industry.

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Spuds in space: China’s pioneering mission to harness cosmic qualities for superior potatoes

Scientists in China have initiated a pioneering project in agriculture by cultivating over 60,000 potato seeds that spent five months in space. These seeds, brought back by the Shenzhou XVI space mission, are being nurtured at the Shangdu Potato Technology Innovation Center in Inner Mongolia. Using advanced techniques like CRISPR, researchers aim to enhance traits such as disease resistance and salt-alkali tolerance.

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West European potato production under severe pressure: NEPG highlights extreme weather and seed shortages

Europe’s potato harvest was negatively impacted by heavy rainfall, causing difficulties in harvesting and potential supply shortages in the NEPG countries – Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and France. Though yields were good, the wet weather left about 1.4 million tonnes unharvested, mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium. NEPG warns of increased risks and costs for farmers, deteriorating potato quality, and escalating market prices. Concerns are also rising over seed availability for the Spring 2024 season due to a reduction in seed production.

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The next agricultural wave: Global survey to probe the untapped potential of true potato seed (TPS)

In a groundbreaking new study, scientists from the University of Minnesota, including Prof. Chengyan Yue, Vanessa Kambi, and Dr. Lauran Shannon, are surveying global growers on true potato seed (TPS) usage, a promising yet under-researched alternative to traditional tuber seeds. The survey aims to gather insights into growers’ preferences and successful strategies, with significant potential to transform potato farming practices. The study’s findings, expected to influence agricultural practices and policies, will be publicly shared post-research.

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Latin America: Uruguay’s potato industry’s family-owned leader shines as a seed potato producer

Vicentina S.A., a trailblazer in Uruguay’s potato industry, celebrated its legacy and innovation at the annual Vicentina Potato Day. The event highlighted the company’s global impact, advancements in seed potato production, and commitment to sustainable practices. “Our ambitions transcend national boundaries, fostering growth regionally and globally on the bedrock of innovation, sustainability, collaboration, and trust,” says Alessandro Mietto, co-founder and partner of Vicentina S.A.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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