Smart Farming

‘Water wisdom’: How Agrico irrigation systems transform potato farming in South Africa’s Western Cape

The article “Rooted in success: Agrico offers potato irrigation solutions,” spotlights a collaboration between South African potato farm Stephan & Seun and Agrico, an irrigation solutions provider. The partnership, which began in the 1970s, uses Agrico’s advanced technology for efficient water management in potato farming, leading to cost savings and power efficiency. The system’s adaptivity to varying pressure requirements ensures optimal operation even with a change in topography.

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Enroll now: PSI Store Managers’ Course 2024 open for bookings

Potato Storage Insight (PSI) has opened bookings for its 2024 Potato Store Managers’ Course, which will include the opportunity to attain the BASIS (Stored Potatoes) qualification for the first time. The course, led by Adrian Cunnington, will happen on 28th-29th February 2024 at The Crown in Yorkshire. The two-day program combines practical training sessions and networking opportunities, covering critical topics like risk management, disease threats, and ventilation.

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‘DIGging deep’: Scottish tech firm harvests success at Potato Industry Awards with innovative management platform

Dundee’s Tayfusion wins the ‘Best Innovation – 22/23’ award at the British Potato Industry Awards for its DIG software management platform for potato farming. DIG Potatoes streamlines potato production from growth to sales, offering comprehensive data management. The software, developed with industry collaboration, includes features for stock control, quality control, and forecasting. Founder Mark Mander invites users to explore and demo the platform, showcasing its impact on the potato industry’s efficiency and sustainability.

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AI transforms Canadian potato farming: A leap towards smart agriculture

Canadian potato growers are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor and predict their crops’ nutritional needs in real time. The new technology involves using a portable optical sensor to quickly assess potato field nutrient values. The technology utilises machine learning algorithms trained on historical data, thereby providing near real-time evaluations of plant nutritional requirements. This method improves fertilizer application efficiency, optimising yield and quality while maintaining environmental balance.

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Soil Health Institute and McCain Foods webinar: ‘Making Cover Crops Pay in Potatoes’

The Soil Health Institute and McCain Foods hosted a panel discussion on the integration of cover crops into potato farming systems. Panelists, who represented diverse geographies, outlined four principles: know your goal, don’t seek perfection, view it as an investment, and consult experts. Beyond soil coverage, cover crops can enhance soil health, attract beneficial insects and even provide livestock feed.

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Crop rotation increases good bacteria to promote plant health

Due to the world’s population reaching 8 billion, there is a high demand for food security. The potato could be key in meeting this need. However, its production is declining and methods to increase yield are environmentally damaging. This article by By Prof Lucy Moleleki at the University of Pretoria in South Africa highlights the advantages of crop rotation as an effective, eco-friendly way to control pathogens and optimize yields.

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BP2023: Evolution Separator and Trinity haulm toppers take center stage amidst challenging weather conditions

Scotts Precision Engineering is set to exhibit at BP2023, showcasing their Evolution Separator and Trinity haulm toppers, addressing challenges in UK agriculture due to bad weather. The Evolution Separator offers enhanced crop cleaning, while the Trinity range ensures efficient haulm topping. Derek Scott, the Managing Director, will present on pre-cleaning harvested potatoes, highlighting the company’s commitment to advancing agricultural technology and supporting farmers in these challenging times.

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British potato industry encouraged to sign up to the first SPot Stores project

GB Potatoes, Potato Storage Insight, and SDF Agriculture have initiated the Strategic Potato Stores project to improve potato storage practices. The project, inspired by the SPot Farms model, encourages industry collaboration and practical research. It includes trials with various potato varieties and sprout suppressants, focusing on efficiency and profitability. Key activities include grower meetings, open days, and workshops in 2024, alongside evaluations of PCN-resistant varieties. This initiative emphasizes practical solutions and shared industry knowledge.

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Potato production and soil health: Insights from U.S. potato growers

Researchers at the University of Idaho and the USDA/ERS conducted a study to identify soil health practices that are acceptable to farmers. The study considered several factors, including their production systems, land management, and farmers’ attitudes toward these practices. It highlights the challenges of intensive farming on soil health and explores factors influencing farmers’ decisions, such as profitability, land tenure, and capital constraints. The research aims to identify acceptable practices for farmers to promote soil health and profitability.

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Bayer unveils pioneering digital solutions for sustainable agriculture at Agritechnica 2023

At Agritechnica 2023, Bayer showcased its commitment to digital farming for regenerative agriculture. Highlighting AI and data-driven precision farming, Bayer presented FieldView, a leading digital platform, and new products like FieldView Cab for Android. Their “Magic” series offers advanced field insights. Bayer’s collaboration with Microsoft in developing AgPowered Services and the Azure Data Manager for Agriculture further underscores their commitment to advancing agriculture through technology.

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‘From Pampas to Progress’: Argentinian crop specialist shares insights into ecologically intensified cropping systems

In the latest Yara Crop Nutrition podcast, the presenters delve into the heart of modern agriculture with Dr. Fernando Garcia, a renowned expert in soil fertility and crop nutrition, and Free Professor at the College of Agricultural Sciences of the National University of Mar del Plata, Argentina. Dr Garcia highlights several innovative practices that are being developed and implemented in Argentina, such as precision agriculture, drones, and satellite imagery to monitor crop health and optimize inputs.

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Branston’s pioneering farm-scale net-zero project: Towards a greener potato supply chain

The UK’s largest potato supplier, Branston, is exploring a farm-scale net-zero project to enhance efficiency and sustainability in the potato supply chain. This three-year project involves trials like a novel potato pulp fertiliser, nitrogen-fixing biostimulant, and min-till pilots, aiming to reduce carbon emissions while maintaining commercial viability. The project, now in its second year, is conducted by Branston’s field technology manager, Andy Blair, with host farmers David Armstrong and John Stirling in Lincolnshire and Scotland, respectively.

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German Agriculture Minister endorses’s eco-friendly herbicide tech at AGRITECHNICA 2023

At AGRITECHNICA 2023, German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir visited’s booth, expressing keen interest in their sustainable glyphosate alternatives.’s CEO Dirk Vandenhirtz highlighted this as a testament to their commitment to eco-friendly agricultural solutions. Their innovative Hybrid Herbicide Technology combines efficiency, environmental friendliness, and effective plant control, impressing Özdemir and marking a significant step towards sustainable agriculture and advanced precision farming methods.

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Combatting late blight: Microbial solutions for farmers unveiled in upcoming webinar

CHAP and Bactobio are hosting a free webinar, “Potato Late Blight: Microbial Solutions for Farmers,” on December 4th, 2023. This event features experts discussing innovative strategies against potato late blight, covering topics from bioinformatics to soil microbiome studies. Aimed at farmers, researchers, and agronomists, the webinar addresses various challenges and possible solutions. Registration is now available on Eventbrite. The insights gained here could be instrumental in shaping future farming practices and strategies in the fight against potato late blight.

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China’s advanced potato cultivation technology sows seeds of growth for BRI nations

China’s potato cultivation research has brought significant benefits to Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries. This project involves academic exchanges, collaborative research, and technology transfer, aiming to improve potato yields and ensure food security. It represents a part of China’s efforts to strengthen ties with BRI nations through sustainable agricultural development, showcasing the practical advantages of international cooperation within the BRI framework.

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Green thumbs up: Potato Sustainability Alliance launches grower program for eco-friendly farming

The Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA) has launched a Grower Program to enhance sustainable farming. Utilizing the Cropwise Sustainability app, the program offers tools for growers to measure and improve their sustainability practices. Benefits include real-time insights, benchmark reports, and data control. Enrollment is simple, empowering growers to contribute to a more sustainable future for potato production. The PSA continues to lead the charge in eco-friendly agricultural advancements.

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‘Beyond the horizon’: How to turn the potato industry’s ‘sunset’ into a new ‘sunrise’

Jacob Vanderschaaf, a seasoned potato industry veteran, warns of a potential ‘sunset’ in agriculture – a decline due to unsustainable practices. He contrasts this with a ‘sunrise’ scenario, advocating for a sustainable future through organic and regenerative farming. Vanderschaaf calls for collective action among farmers, consumers, and policymakers to embrace eco-friendly methods, ensuring a thriving agricultural legacy for future generations.

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McCain Foods USA and partners secure $6.9 million USDA grant for soil health initiative

McCain Foods USA received a $6.9 million USDA grant to enhance soil health and implement sustainable potato practices in partnership with Campbell Soup Company and the Soil Health Institute. The project supports McCain’s commitment to regenerative agriculture, aiming to revolutionize potato farming in response to climate challenges, with the goal of adopting these practices globally by 2030. This partnership will also contribute to Campbell’s ongoing potato sustainability program.

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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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Potato nutrient management: Key insights from a renowned specialist

Prof. Carl Rosen, a renowned Extension nutrient management specialist at the University of Minnesota, unveils insights on potato nutrient management in a recent article. Highlighting the importance of nitrogen efficiency, he suggests strategies like realistic target rates and split applications. The research also delves into the challenges of improving soil health in potato systems and the role of phosphorus and potassium in yield and quality.

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E-Planner: A new tool to help farmers enhance their farm environmental decisions

The UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology introduces the E-Planner, a free tool designed to guide farmers in sustainable land decisions. In a video discussion, Marek Nowakowski and developer John Redhead explore the app’s capabilities, from identifying optimal habitats for wildlife conservation to using heat maps for environmental actions. Aiming to merge profitable agriculture with wildlife preservation, the E-Planner offers a promising step towards a greener farming future.

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CropX Technologies unveils Sustainability Report: A commitment to Planet, People, and Prosperity

CropX Technologies, a pioneer in digital farm management, has released its inaugural Sustainability Report titled “People, Planet and Prosperity.” The report underscores CropX’s commitment to sustainable farming and its global influence through its products and business operations. Emphasizing environmental sustainability, the company’s innovative system aids farmers in optimizing irrigation, conserving water, reducing chemical use, and boosting crop yields. The report also delves into CropX’s efforts to minimize its manufacturing impact and corporate carbon footprint.

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‘From superfood to super crop’: Univ of Idaho researchers find promise in quinoa as rotation crop to curb PCN

Researchers at the University of Idaho have identified quinoa, often hailed as a “superfood,” as a potential solution to the pale cyst nematode (PCN) infestation plaguing potato farmers in eastern Idaho. Quinoa, which has seen a surge in cultivation in the region, functions as a “trap crop” by stimulating the PCN to hatch without providing a viable host. This reduces the nematode’s viability in the soil. While another plant, the litchi tomato, has shown even greater effectiveness in combating PCN, it lacks the economic advantages of quinoa.

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Green energy meets agriculture: Innovative ‘SmartSola’ system to revolutionize potato storage, cut electricity costs

Crop Systems Limited in the UK has launched ‘Smart Sola’, a system designed to optimize home-generated energy use for farmers, reducing reliance on external power. The system monitors energy from various sources and deploys it efficiently across storage facilities. Philip Smith of Monkton Court Farm praises its ability to control storage run times based on solar energy availability, often eliminating the need for external energy, making it a cost-effective solution for UK farmers.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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