HZPC says in a recent news article that the company’s growers know it better than anyone: a healthy soil is crucial for good potato growing. But a healthy soil offers more. It contributes to all the main pillars of HZPC in the field of sustainability. The talk HZPC had with grower Pieter Klaas Westerhuis from Usquert in Groningen, the Netherlands confirms this: “We don’t want to leave any problems behind for the next generation to solve”.
Like “The Terminator” for weeds, the Carbon Robotics machine, dubbed “Bud,” rolls through farm fields using artificial intelligence to discern weeds from crops and using a high-power laser to kill the weeds. This lets farmers cultivate crops with less herbicide and reduced labor, improving crop yields and saving money.
In 2019, the USAID Potato Program was launched, an initiative with a straightforward name and a straightforward objective: to give Georgia’s potato farmers the technologies, tools, and training they need to produce high-quality potatoes on a sufficient scale to compete with imports and drive economic growth in their communities. To help farmers overcome key challenges in the sector, USAID brought in the expertise of the International Potato Center (CIP).
2021 ended on a high for Irish grower, packer and distributor Meade Farm Group. As
Caroline Allen reports for Agriland, the Meade family’s passion for potatoes in all shapes and forms was evident at the recent Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards. They scooped three gold awards for their fresh skinny chips, fresh chunky chips and potato starch in the foodservice category, as well as a silver gong for their white potatoes.
A fourth-generation potato farming and marketing family in North Dakota is leaping into a new era of electronic potato grading. The Hall family partnership of Hoople in northeast North Dakota put in place a multi-million-dollar optical grading system that uses cameras to evaluate potatoes individually and sort them into lanes. The Halls’ Spectrim can sort up to 1,700 potatoes a minute or around 120,000 per hour.
“As a conservation farmer, the practices we use on our farm are allowing us to ‘kidnap carbon’ from the atmosphere and store it in our soil. This makes me a better farmer. The practice of carbon farming supports my efforts to grow more food and help the environment at the same time,” writes Andre-Figueiredo Dobashi in this article published by Global Farmer Network. The article is titled “I’m a conservation farmer who kidnaps carbon for good”.
Bayer, Bushel and Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently unveiled Project Carbonview. It is to enable farmers to report, analyze and better assess their end-to-end supply chain carbon footprint. Bayer says that it is a first-of-its-kind technology solution that will help farmers in the United States drive more sustainable supply chains and mitigate the impact agriculture has on the environment by aggregating the carbon footprint of end products.
The potato industry in South Africa is investing in various technologies to improve its sustainability, and is currently in the process of developing a mobile app to improve communication with members. Willie Jacobs, CEO of Potatoes SA the app will allow farmers to identify problem spots and compare production from different areas on their farms, and over time, [and] also [to] compare production with what has been achieved in previous seasons.
A new practical guide to assessing soil carbon promises to answer British farmers’ key questions at a time when many are looking to understand their soil health. The guide lists and answers key questions for robust on-farm monitoring of soil carbon and associated indicators of soil health.
Speaking at BP2021, Eric Anderson, of Scottish Agronomy, warned growers in the Scottish seed potato sector about the challenges presented in 2021 – emphasising that minimising the handling and damage of the seed in grading pre-treatment is always important.
Mike Abram presents an insightful review of three popular so-called whole-farm carbon calculators in an article for Farmers Weekly in the UK . A few farmers tested the overall scope and structure of the calculators, all of which cover arable and livestock enterprises. The tools assessed were: Farm Carbon Toolkit, Agrecalc, and the Cool Farm Tool.
Farming has been recognised for the key role it can play in helping the UK meet its net zero emissions target by 2050, with individual farmers being encouraged to do their bit. There’s no magic bullet or one-size-fits-all approach, say experts, who highlight that we will need a multitude of different options to both reduce emissions and capture or store carbon in soils and woodlands.
A blue, potato-shaped sensor for in-store monitoring of potato crops and an app that estimates your potential crop yield from a photo and a blue mat have been launched by Metos UK at the recent British Potato event. Inside the blue tuber-shaped SolAntenna are sensors to measure and track temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in store.
It’s clearly understood that improved farm productivity is good for business and more recently, for carbon. But the challenge has always been how to measure the cost of producing a particular crop with regards to carbon. Hutchinsons’ new Omnia Carbon cost of production tool has been designed to tackle just this,
Farmers in Britain could soon earn money creating new habitats on their farms, as developers look to offset the loss of biodiversity resulting from development such as house building and infrastructure projects. This year saw the launch of carbon trading by companies which has seen interest from regenerative farmers. And next year will see some growers start to earn money by improving biodiversity.
Soil health and regenerative techniques will be to the fore during this year’s CropTec seminars, writes Ken Fletcher in an article for The Scottish Farmer. With growers in the midst of a tumultuous time in British farming, this year’s programme will examine the building blocks for a sustainable arable farming future.
As Adam Clarke reports in this Farmers Weekly article, potato producers are facing tricky times, with ballooning costs squeezing profits and seasonal staff increasingly difficult to source since the UK left the EU. To make itself more resilient to these issues Cornish producer EW Button & Son recently invested in a state-of-the-art potato-grading line with an optical sorter.
As Alasdair Lane writes in this article for BBC Future, farmlands cover half of the Earth’s habitable land, and the global food system produces 21-37% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. When fields are worked with heavy machinery, their soils leach trapped carbon back into the air. Carbon farming, on the other hand, seeks to capture them.
It takes leaves to make a potato crop, and maximum yields are achieved when potato plants cover the ground as rapidly as possible. This ensures plants capture the greatest amount of solar energy, writes Carrie Huffman Wohleb in this Growing Produce article. But you must strike the right balance between leaf and tuber growth, she says.
Teagasc is confirming that most growers are now well advanced with the 2021 potato harvest, writes Richard Halleron in a news story for Agriland. Conditions in late September were extremely dry. However, this has led to some bruising on crop where there isn’t enough soil travelling up the webs to cushion the tubers.
An organic vegetable farmer from Shropshire has made efficiency savings of more than 25% while almost doubling the land he manages for potatoes thanks to a new app. As FarmingUK reports, Nick Taylor, who farms at Home Farm, has been instrumental in developing Crop4Sight, and is now using the platform to realise ‘massive efficiencies’ in his business.
I-Feeder Technologies, a leader in state-of-the-art dosing systems, has grown to serve the need for integrated precision irrigation technologies in terms of software and hardware solutions. The I-Feeder fertigation system is supplied as a turnkey operational system, meaning no additional sourcing is required and ensures correct installation, designed to be easy and simple.
A project run by Universal Robina Corp (URC) and the Philippine government has provided a valuable boost to the country’s potato growers during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2018 URC partnered with the government to launch the Sustainable Potato Programme to provide growers with quality potato seed, training and research.