Seed

The Netherlands: Ware potato acres down, seed potato area up this season

This year, the total cultivation area for ware potatoes in the Netherlands has declined by nearly 1.8 thousand hectares to 77 thousand hectares (-2.3 percent), according to a report issued this week by Statistics Netherlands. According to information published in the report, areas planted for seed and starch potato use have increased slightly over the past twelve months; both by approximately 1 percent. The share of seed potatoes in the total potato area has continued to rise slightly again over the past year.

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Croatia sees major increase in potato imports, especially seed potatoes

During the first three months of 2020 Croatia imported 16,064 tonnes of potato seed, including new and mature table potatoes – all of which worth €8.03 million, almost half of the total value of potatoes imported in 2019, according to an analysis by the Smarter Consultancy company. Smarter Consultancy believes that it is necessary to consolidate farmland devoted to potato cultivation in Croatia, and at the same time increase yields per hectare – and furthermore give the potato crop the status of a special vegetable so as to create possibilities to apply for EU funding.

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‘From ridge to bed’ – The next step in HZPC’s potato innovation

Increasing food security in areas that are hard to access. This is one of the ideas behind an important potato innovation by HZPC: hybrid potato breeding. This innovation has been under development for many years. And now it’s time for the next step. Seed potatoes from hybrid potatoes grow successfully on the well-known ‘ridges’ and now also in so-called ‘beds’. Flower bulbs are grown in this type of bed too.

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Breeders Trust invests in potato variety recognition using Geo4A satellite technology

The Brussels-based Breeders Trust today signed a major contract with Geo4A, a subsidiary of the Austrian company GeoVille. GeoVille specialises in the data processing of satellite images and is a leader in the field within Western Europe. The idea behind Breeders Trust is that together breeders can act more forcefully against unfair production and commercial practices adopted by the often globally operating rogue companies that discredit the entire sector.

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Late blight resistant potatoes in Uganda promise impressive returns

Potato is a popular crop in Uganda with great potential for income generation and improving nutrition. So much so that the Ugandan government has declared potato a key crop for the country. In Uganda, International Potato Center (CIP) partners with the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) to release and promote improved varieties of potato and sweetpotato. NARO and CIP have developed a new version of the Victoria variety by adding three resistance genes (3R). The 3R Victoria potatoes are completely resistant to late blight.

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Contributions needed to bring new late blight resistant potato variety to smallholder farmers’ fields in East Africa

The 2Blades Foundation, a non-profit research organization based in the Chicago area, is a principal sponsor of a research project that recently completed the development of a potato variety that is completely resistant to late-blight. 2Blades is seeking contributions to help bring this disease-resistant potato variety to market and fight hunger in East Africa.

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Seed potato growers on Australia’s Kangaroo Island hit hard by bushfires

Kangaroo Island’s seed potato producers were all hit to some degree by the summer’s bushfires. But none more so than Peter Lock, whose home, shed and equipment on Turkey Lane west of Parndana were all totally destroyed by fire, while he lost his nearby potato crops too. “The list goes on and on, it took everything,” he said. The whole Island seed potato industry was set back by the fires and is running about 10 weeks behind schedule.

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European potato growers hit with loss of another key seed treatment

Rhizoctonia control is set to become much more difficult for potato growers with news of a second seed treatment being withdrawn, just weeks after the loss of Monceren. EU regulators have recommended the withdrawal of penflufen, a fungicide contained in the powder seed tuber treatment product Emesto Prime DS. It is used to control Rhizoctonia solani, which causes stem and stolon canker and black scurf in potatoes.

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COVID-19: Major impact on Idaho seed potato grower

Caribou County farmer Jason Stoddard is one of many Eastern Idaho seed potato growers who have been stuck with lots of spuds that will never be planted due to the COVID-19 crisis. Commercial potato farmers throughout the state have canceled seed orders, having had their contracts with processors scaled back due to lost food service demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19 crisis: Idaho seed potato growers try to cope with 40 million pounds of unwanted spuds

Caribou County farmer Jason Stoddard is one of many Eastern Idaho seed potato growers who have been stuck with lots of spuds that will never be planted due to the COVID-19 crisis. Commercial potato farmers throughout the state have canceled seed orders, having had their contracts with processors scaled back due to lost food service demand amid the pandemic. Industry officials estimate roughly 40 million pounds of Idaho seed potatoes have gone unsold or been returned to seed growers.

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Scottish potato producer looking for solutions for the seed industry

Seed potato producer, Jim Reid, from Milton of Mathers farm, St Cyrus, near Montrose, joined AHDB’s strategic farm network as the new host SPot farmer in Scotland at the start of the year, according to a report released by AHDB. At Milton of Mathers farm, multiple studies on desiccation have been carried out over the last nine years. As part of the desiccation trials that will be carried out at the farm, different fertilising regimes will be compared as well as the impact of cultivation.

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EU, FAO provide 60 tonnes of potato seed to farmers in Tajikistan

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concluded the distribution of 60 tonnes of high quality potato seed to two farmer cooperative unions as part of a European Union-funded project in Tajikistan. Local farmers will have an opportunity to learn about innovative approaches for producing potato seed. Potato is a widely grown crop in Tajikistan, most likely cultivated primarily at higher altitudes than areas dedicated to other principal crops.

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Webinar on the diversified use of potato apical cuttings now online

Earlier this week, the World Potato Congress Inc (WPC) hosted another edition of its webinars, featuring Dr. Monica Parker. She presented on “Diversified Use of Apical Cuttings to Boost Potato Seed Systems“. The webinar is now available on YouTube. It can also be viewed below, or on the WPC website here, where links are available to previous webinars as well.

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COVID-19 puts the brakes on potato acres as McCain and Simplot scale down in Canada’s Manitoba province

Manitoba’s potato acres will take a hit this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and plummeting demand. According to multiple industry sources, McCain Foods has dropped 16 per cent of acres from its contracts with Canada’s Manitoba farmers, while Simplot has also made smaller cuts from its agreements. Why it matters: As demands shrinks, less processing potatoes will go into the ground this year, as well as sending up a cloud of uncertainty for seed potato growers.

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Webinar: Diversified use of apical cuttings to boost potato seed systems

The World Potato Congress Inc (WPC) is pleased to continue its webinar series, and in its next webinar it will feature Dr. Monica Parker, presenting on “Diversified Use of Apical Cuttings to Boost Potato Seed Systems”. Addressing seed shortages for potato is a perennial challenge in many potato-producing countries, DrParker says. Addressing seed shortages for potato is a perennial challenge in many potato-producing countries, Dr Parker says.

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Canadian seed potato growers face COVID-19 hit

In the 2018-19 crop year, Canada exported about $38 million worth of seed potatoes. Almost all of the seed potatoes went to the United States, with a tiny share going to Uruguay and other nations. Those exports are now in jeopardy because COVID-19 has drastically cut into consumption of french fries. Potato seed growers in Canada will sell a portion of their crop this spring, but the rest could go to waste.

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Canadian potato industry holds conference to receive market update

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. However, the former chair of the PEI Potato Board noted Island holdings were up 3.9 per cent.

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Grampian Growers releases video to tell the story of its Gemson baby potato variety

Grampian Growers is a farmer owned cooperative based on the East coast of Scotland on the outskirts of Montrose, Angus. The cooperative is one of the UK’s leading growers, suppliers and distributors of seed potatoes. Grampian recently released a short video about its Gemson baby potato variety. Grampian says on its website that Gemson has gone from strength to strength in the expanding baby potato sector since its commercial release in 2007. Gemson is renowned for producing exceptional small, white, round and bright tubers, perfect for the packing industry.

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Potato specialists provide guidelines on mitigating early planting risks

It’s really a very simple formula: increase the length of the growing season and increase the potential yield and profits from a potato crop. There isn’t much that can be done to avoid a season-ending frost sometime during the fall, so perhaps the most feasible way to extend the season is to plant the crop early, say potato specialists Mike Thornton and Nora Olsen at the University of Idaho. When making decisions on when to start planting, growers should be aware that there are also some substantial risks involved

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US: Western Potatoes grows potato seed for Frito-Lay

If you’re in the Panhandle and open up a bag of Frito-Lay potato chips, chances are good the potatoes came from one of the Western Potatoes locations in Alliance, Kansas or Colorado, according to an article published by the Star-Herald. Western Potatoes grows chip potatoes and seed potatoes in Alliance, Lincoln, Kan., and Holyoke, Colorado. They grow seed only in Gordon. The employee-owned operation is one of the largest seed growers for Frito-Lay, and has been working with the company since the late 1970s.

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Canada: PVY in 2019 New Brunswick crop near lowest levels since regulatory caps began

Recent research presented at the N.B. Potato Conference and Tradeshow, Feb. 6th 2020, has highlighted the low levels of Potato virus Y (PVY) in the 2019 seed harvest in New Brunswick, Potato Country magazine reports. PVY levels in the N.B. industry have dropped dramatically since 2009. Average PVY level in all tested potato seed lots harvested in 2009 was 11.8%, which over a decade dropped to only 0.63% in the 2019 harvest.

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Washington State trial program: Helping potato growers diagnose seed-borne issues

A Washington state trial program highlights the seed-borne diseases impacting potato crops across the region. The Washington Commercial Potato Seed Lot Trial has been conducted for 56 years since 1961. This useful trial also helps individual growers diagnose seed-borne issues that occasionally show up in their crop. Prof Carrie Huffman Wohleb at Washington State University explains how it works in an article published by American Vegetable Grower magazine.

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Backing up biodiversity: CIP deposits potato seed in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The International Potato Center (CIP) recently joined 34 other organizations across the globe in depositing more than 60,000 seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a biodiversity bunker in a mountainside of an Arctic island in Norway. That mass deposit of seeds of an array of crops helped raise the number of samples stored in Svalbard to more than one million, but for the CIP genebank, it was just the latest such delivery in an ongoing effort to back up its extensive collections of potato, sweetpotato, Andean roots and tubers, and the wild relatives of those crops.

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The ‘Flight to Vitality’ project: A fresh perspective on potato growth

Neil Budko is an associate professor in the Numerical Analysis Group at TU Delft in the Netherlands. In this article he and his colleagues’ involvement in the “Flight to Vitality” seed potato project is explained in detail. With the Flight to Vitality project, HZPC and Averis Seeds want to jointly develop an objective test with which the vitality of batches of seed potatoes can be measured and predicted.

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CIP and partners publish a ‘Manual for seed potato production using aeroponics’

The full title of this new book, authored by scientists working at CIP, INIAP, and CORPOICA in Latin America, is Manual for seed potato production using aeroponics. Ten years of experience in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Aeroponics is a technique for producing potato minitubers (corresponding to the pre-basic seed category) in formal seed systems. aeroponics is part of an integrated proposal of CIP and its partners to manage seed potato degeneration.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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