A research team in Italy studied acrylamide levels in over 15,000 food samples and found potato-based products and coffee were the top sources of exposure to the potentially carcinogenic compound. The study also revealed that mitigation measures by the European Union have made a significant difference over time, notably decreasing contamination levels. However, it equally emphasized continuous monitoring and strict regulation to maintain these improvements and ensure public health.
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.
A team led by Zsofia Szendrei at MSU received a $6 million USDA grant to develop sustainable pest management strategies for U.S. potato farming, moving away from neonicotinoids. The team will explore alternative management solutions in lieu of using neonicotinoids. This grant was initiated through discussions with growers and potato industry representatives who highlighted the need for a project like this in 2020. The project, involving experts across various fields, will explore alternative insecticides and long-term industry impacts.
Researchers from the University of Idaho and the USDA-ARS are conducting a study to combat ‘cutting black’, a significant issue in the potato industry causing considerable revenue loss. This phenomenon, where stored potatoes develop dark bruises, impacts 10-20% of the fresh potato market. Funded by a $42,470 grant, the team is testing three compounds to prevent the darkening of bruised tissue. This research could revolutionize storage practices and reduce waste, as potatoes stored for extended periods often suffer from pressure bruises.
The University of Idaho’s new thermogradient table allows scientists to study the impact of temperature on weed emergence, aiding the development of models to optimize herbicide application timing. The research, led by Albert Adjesiwor and doctoral student Chandra Maki, will provide growers with data-driven insights to tackle herbicide resistance by applying preemergence herbicides more effectively based on local temperature conditions, improving weed control across the Pacific Northwest.
This article, based on research by Stephen A. Fleming and Jenny R. Morris at Traverse Science in Illinois, challenges the negative perception of potatoes, focusing on their nutritional value and health impact. It argues that potatoes are high-quality carbohydrates, comparable to legumes and grains. The study highlights the importance of preparation methods and dietary context, showing that potatoes can contribute positively to a balanced diet and should not be excluded based on their glycemic index alone.
The Irish Farmers Association reports severe challenges in potato harvesting in Ireland and the UK due to excessive rainfall. Many areas have exceeded average annual rainfall, hindering harvest and increasing frost damage risk. In Ireland, heavy rains have exposed crops to frost, threatening significant losses. A few hard frosts at this point will wipe out entire crops. In the UK, particularly in the Midlands and northwards, several growers are facing the daunting task of lifting over 500 acres of potatoes.
‘Spuds to energy’: Researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island want to make hydrogen from potato peels
Researchers at UPEI in Canada are innovating green energy by converting potato peels into hydrogen gas. Led by Yulin Hu, the project explores syngas production from food waste, with Nasim Mia studying UV light’s role in the process. Funded by various sources, this research is part of a broader initiative to transition from petroleum to hydrogen energy, promising significant environmental benefits and solutions for a greener future.
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.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension showcased a potato study at Aroostook Farm, revealing how different PVY strains affect crop health and marketability. The field day highlighted the subtle symptoms of the dominant PVY-NTN strain, challenging traditional control methods. Experts recommended early crop oil application and systemic insecticides in grains to combat the aphid-spread virus, emphasizing integrated pest management to protect Maine’s potato industry.
Renaissance BioScience has partnered with Certis Belchim to create a sustainable biopesticide using innovative RNA interference technology. Their joint development agreement focuses on developing a yeast-based RNAi biopesticide targeting a specific agricultural pest. This collaboration aims to produce a highly effective plant protection product that balances crop safety with environmental and biodiversity conservation.
According to the latest FIWAP/PCA market report. the European potato harvest is lagging due to colder tubers making drying difficult. Belgium has 15-20% left to harvest, with varying percentages across Europe. The average potato yield is slightly down from last season but above the five-year average. On the futures market, potato prices remained stable, but the harvest delay and weather are causing market tensions in the European market, while North America is facing an oversupply.
Amidst thriving retail demand for potatoes in Ireland, the harvest season faces severe setbacks due to heavy rainfall and flooding. Over 60% of crops remain unharvested, with significant losses already reported. The UK faces similar challenges, halting harvest activities. While market demand remains steady, exports to the Canary Islands are under scrutiny, with shipments rejected due to excessive soil content. The potato industry in both regions braces for further challenges.
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.
Mixed fortunes: Ireland and UK potato harvesting faces delays, Belgium and France report promising yields
The Irish Farmers Association reports a rise in potato sales in Ireland due to current weather conditions. However, these conditions have halted harvesting and caused flooding. This has raised concerns about potential losses in the crop yield. The UK faces similar challenges. Particularly affected are the later planted, late maturing varieties like Markies. In contrast, Belgium and France see good yields, with France’s up by 10.2%. Holland faces quality issues, while Germany deals with storage breakdowns.
Researchers from Shandong Agricultural University in China have published a paper on the applications of the CRISPR/Cas system in potato breeding. The paper highlights the advantages of CRISPR/Cas over older technologies, emphasizing its simplicity and efficiency. Potatoes, being the third most consumed food globally, can benefit from this technology to improve yield, quality, and stress resistance. The CRISPR/Cas system has been used to address challenges like late blight resistance, enzymatic browning, and enhancing nutritional quality.
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.
‘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.
Rabobank’s recent report indicates a positive trajectory for the global fertilizer market in the upcoming years, despite a 7% decline in 2022. The market is projected to see a 3% rise in usage in 2023. The Israel-Hamas conflict’s effect on the fertilizer market is currently minimal. The Affordability Index predicts a favorable scenario for fertilizer buying in 2024, with a nearly 5% increase. While the nitrogen market faces challenges, potash and phosphate markets are optimistic.
An article by Kayleen Schreiber and Marc Brazeau at the Genetic Literacy Project explores the safety and efficacy of modern pesticides. It highlights a significant reduction in pesticide use per unit of food and fiber and per capita, credited to increased food production yields since 1985. While toxicity remains a concern, levels have decreased, and biodegradability has enhanced. Both organic and conventional farming use pesticides, but modern ones are less toxic and more environmentally friendly. The article series emphasizes understanding pesticide risks amid rising global food needs.
Chemotherapy, thermotherapy and cryotherapy: New Zealand scientists unveil innovative methods to eradicate PVS, PVA, and PVM viruses
New Zealand scientists have developed a groundbreaking method to eradicate Potato Virus S (PVS), Potato Virus A (PVA), and Potato Virus M (PVM) from in vitro-grown potato shoots. The study, published in “Frontiers in Plant Science,” revealed that combining chemotherapy and cryotherapy was highly effective in producing virus-free potato plants. This advancement is vital for the potato industry, ensuring a supply of healthy planting material. The findings address New Zealand’s plant biosecurity concerns and have global implications for potato farming.
Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Michigan have discovered that potato starch may modify the gut microbiome in bone marrow transplant patients, potentially reducing graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) complications. The study, published in Nature Medicine, found that over 80% of participants safely consumed the potato starch supplement, leading to increased gut butyrate levels. This dietary intervention could enhance the success of bone marrow transplants.
The 2023-24 season forecasts a robust Idaho potato crop, promising affordability and heightened promotional prospects for retailers. With a 12% increase in planted acres from the previous year, Idaho leads the U.S. in potato production growth. Despite price drops, the quality remains high, attributed to ideal weather conditions. Ross Johnson of the Idaho Potato Commission anticipates enhanced promotional opportunities, emphasizing the value potatoes present to consumers, especially in the upcoming economic climate.
Resilient Irish and UK potato markets amidst challenging harvesting conditions, brighter picture in Europe
Despite the pandemic’s aftermath, Ireland’s potato retail sales remain robust. A brief calm allowed harvesting, but subsequent heavy rains, especially in Cork, halted operations. As November nears, harvesting faces further challenges, potentially increasing losses. Similarly, the UK and Scotland confront harvesting difficulties, with Scotland achieving 60% ware clearance. In contrast, Northern France reports a 70% clearance rate and promising yields.