Good application is essential in getting the most from maleic hydrazide, which AHDB trials in the UK have shown to be a useful, cost-effective tool for controlling early dormancy break in potatoes. Additional benefits of using maleic hydrazide include a reduction in secondary growth and chain tuberisation, and it also minimises internal sprouting.
When the storage doors open and farmers look at their cured potatoes, they are hoping for high-quality spuds that will garner a fair price. Unfortunately, potatoes can be sneaky. Some don’t reveal problems until harvest, or worse, when they are already in storage. Determining which disease is present allows for better management and application of appropriate controls. However, treatments in potatoes vary and there are no silver bullets. Potato diseases work together to exacerbate each other, and pests help to increase disease risk.
Potato processor McCain Foods (GB) Ltd is using ethylene and specifically the anti-sprouting system Restrain as its preferred replacement for the soon to be withdrawn CIPC, according to a press release issued by Restrain company. According to the release, McCain Foods GB, the UK business of the world’s largest producer of frozen potato products, has been using ethylene for a few years and is now recommending Restrain ethylene generators to its potato growers in the United Kingdom.
The amount of potatoes in storage for Canada’s processing sector is 4.2 per cent above the three-year average as of May 1, 2020, according to the United Potato Growers of Canada’s (UPGC) latest update. The UPGC attributes the higher numbers to the COVID-19 pandemic which has “had a dramatic effect on french fry sales as sit-down portions of quick service and fast casual restaurants were closed.” The Potato Growers of Alberta estimates about $60 to $70 million worth of processing potatoes are still in storage.
Processor Lamb Weston has returned part of the 2019 potato crop to Northwest farmers, according to a report by Capital Press. The company doesn’t have the ability to run all of the 2019 potatoes remaining in storage, said Dale Lathim, executive director of Potato Growers of Washington. About 30% of the potatoes still in growers’ storage has been returned to farmers, Lathim said. He said that’s about 4 million hundredweight of potatoes in Washington.
The potato industry needs more help than what the government has given so far, Kam Quarles believes. He spoke to The Packer’s Tom Karst on May 7. The shutdown of the foodservice sector related to shelter at home mandates has had sudden and severe consequences for growers, he said. The lack of movement at processors has backed up the supply chain and created damage to growers of seed, processed and fresh potatoes.
The AHDB in the UK is set to launch a marketing tool to help shift surplus potato stocks caused by a drop-off in demand since the Covid-19 lockdown. Food service sector demand for potatoes collapsed when the measures forced the closure of commercial outlets such as restaurants and many chip shops, reports Jonathan Riley for Farmers Weekly. To help move some of the surplus, the AHDB has set up a website, to be launched next week once final security testing has been completed. The aim is to provide a matchmaking service between growers with surpluses in their stores and potential buyers.
Canadian govt aims to help redistribute stranded potatoes; farmers say new program may not be enough
A first-of-its-kind federal program aimed at redistributing surplus food during the COVID-19 pandemic is an initial step toward moving some of the thousands of tonnes of excess potatoes currently stuck in storage on southern Alberta farms, producers say. However, farmers warn the $50-million program will only go so far, meaning large quantities of good-quality potatoes could still end up being turned out onto fields and left to rot this summer.
Washington farmers’ COVID plight: ‘What do you do with a billion pounds of potatoes that you can’t sell?’
The coronavirus pandemic has left Washington’s farmers with at least a billion pounds of potatoes they can’t sell, a new crop growing without any buyers and millions of dollars in debt they have no way to pay. As it turns out, getting rid of a billion pounds of spuds isn’t easy — or cheap. It usually takes Washington farmers a year to sell that quantity to grocery stores. “Now we’re trying to move it in a couple months,” Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission said.
Potato stocks held by growers at the end of March were 20% higher than the same point last year due to the impact of Covid-19 on consumer demand. Figures from AHDB show that the stocks of potatoes in Britain totalled 1.19 million tonnes, which is 5 percent above the five-year average, the FarmingUK team reports. Dr Rob Clayton, potatoes strategy director at AHDB, said that the specialist nature of the potatoes used for each part of the market meant some growers could suffer ‘large financial losses’.
Much like fruit and vegetable farmers elsewhere in the U.S., Maine potato farmers are hoping aid will come their way. Don Flannery, Executive Director of the Maine Potato Board, says though potatoes have a longer shelf life, time is growing short to move stored product.
The following letter was sent to Potato News Today by potato storage specialist in the UK, Ray Andrews, and we published it as such. AHDB’s announcement that it is consulting on the future of the Sutton Bridge Crop Research Station, and on potato storage research more broadly, should worry every potato grower in this country. AHDB’s announcement that it is consulting on the future of the Sutton Bridge Crop Research Station, and on potato storage research more broadly, should worry every potato grower in this country.
Ethylene can provide potato producers with a viable sprout-control solution in a range of situations, with one large potato processing company already using an ethylene delivery system in all of its medium- to long-term stores. Adam Clarke of Farmers Weekly in the UK reports.
Several growers in the UK are looking to find new customers for potatoes in store as food service outlets across the country have closed. AHDB Potatoes warns growers that the total dose of CIPC must not exceed 24g per tonne for use in the general ware market. AHDB Potatoes says that although there is freedom to move between sectors, limits are observed.
Potato crisis in Washington state: 1 billion of 3 billion pounds in storage might not be used, says exec director
The economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has slammed broadside against the Washington potato and dairy industries, with both facing the prospect of dumping product because markets have disappeared, reports Thomas Clouse of The Spokesman-Review. Washington growers have 1 billion pounds of potatoes in storage with no place to sell them, said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission. “That’s a lot of potatoes,” Voigt said. “Every man, woman and child in Washington state would have to eat 200 pounds of potatoes between now and the Fourth of July.”
The coronavirus outbreak has completely shifted market dynamics for potatoes and has brought about many storage-related questions as a result. Read AHDB’s storage FAQs for some answers.
The Canadian Potato Market was marching along at an excellent pace until the events of Covid-19. Initially, the fresh side of the industry saw rapid sales increases as consumers began to stockpile potatoes for an extended period of time at home. Many packers were barely able to keep up with emptying store shelves.
Last week AHDB Potatoes advised potato growers on the various levels of Chlorpropham (CIPC) allowable in various sectors of the potato market. As part of AHDB’s work with NFU, PPA, FPSA and others, the organization says that it is pleased to report now that today (9 April) the Potato Industry CIPC Stewardship Group (PICSG) announced much needed amendments.
Restrain, manufacturer and distributor of ethylene gas systems for potato storages, announced that the company is now providing its equipment free of charge for the use of interested potato storage managers. The only costs involved will be the Restrain sensor at € 195 and consumption of Restrain ethanol.
The ban on the sprout inhibitor, chlorpropham (CIPC), is causing much controversy in the European potato industry. In an article by Martine van der Wekken of FreshPlaza, the author writes that the discontinuation of the use of CIPC could lead to significant issues, especially for Dutch potato exports to far-away destinations, when these products have to remain in containers for about two weeks or even longer during transit.