Studies/Reports

NEPG: Potato growers face a multitude of risks, disruptions in the industry expected in the near future

The North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) organization says potato growers in its member countries face multiple risks and these risks seem to increase each season. Apart from uncertain and fluctuating production acreage and free-buy prices, farmers now have to include a series of “new” risks to manage. Recent developments, such as higher contract prices, could lead to profound imbalances throughout the whole of the potato sector, according to NEPG.

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Study finds American diners are willing to pay more for meals that include potatoes

A recent study of 1,500 patrons (consumers who eat out at restaurants) identified habits and opinions of restaurant patrons related to potatoes. An astounding 53% of consumers surveyed said they are willing to pay an average of $5.20 more for a main dish with potatoes than without them, regardless of the format. Over half of the patrons surveyed (60%) expect to see potatoes on menus, second only to beef.

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Global potato statistics: Latest FAO data published

The latest global potato statistics provided by the FAO via its FAOSTAT database were updated in December, 2022. We extracted this 2021 data as it relates to “total production” (in metric tonnes) and present the results for 100 potato producing countries in the table below (ranging from most to least). According to the FAO data, a total of 376 million tonnes of potatoes were produced world wide, with China (94 million tonnes) and India (54 million tonnes) the largest potato producing countries in 2021.

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IFA: Planted area expected to reduce in Ireland, export market for frozen products strong in Europe

Retail potato trade over the Christmas period was buoyant in Ireland and it is now back to usual levels, according to the Irish Farmers Association’s (IFA). Planted area is expected to reduce again in Ireland. In the U.K., IFA reports that movement over the holiday period appears to have kept up with expectations. In Europe, processing factories are back to full production after the holiday break, and confidence in the export market for frozen potato products is strong.

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Report: Quick service restaurants drive global frozen potato market, industry booming in the Asia Pacific

A new report by Expert Market Research gives an in-depth analysis of the global frozen potato products market. According to the report, the growing popularity of quick service restaurants (QSRs) in both developing and developed countries is driving the global frozen potato market. North America and Europe dominate the business, but the Asia-Pacific area is likely to become one of the most profitable frozen potato marketplaces in the near future.

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UMaine researchers testing lobster shells to thwart potato soil pathogens

Scientists at the University of Maine are evaluating if lobster shells can cultivate beneficial microbial communities that ward off soilborne potato pathogens. The novel shell-to-spud combination may connect two cornerstones of Maine’s food system and enhance the state’s circular economy. Katie Ashley, a plant science Ph.D. student in the lab of Associate Professor Jianjun Hao, is assessing how different concentrations of cooked, dried and ground lobster shells may prevent potato disease.

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Frito-Lay declares 2022 ‘The Year of Crunch’

What does a perfect snack do? It crunches! The “crunch” factor was on top as an important component of the perfect snack in the latest Frito-Lay U.S. Trend Index. The index polled consumers on their snacking preferences and found that more than 70 percent of snackers would reach for a food with a crunch when considering their perfect snack. The Snack Index found other important snack factors included sweet (66%), salty (61%) and filling (53%).

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IFA: Potato trade buoyant in Ireland, demand starting to improve in Europe

Trade of potatoes is buoyant at present, as expected for the busiest shopping week of the year, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly potato market report. Across Europe, demand for the holiday period had just started to improve. Export demand is reported to be reduced in the run up to the holiday period.

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Modern precision ag: How Black Gold Farms implements Agremo’s AI based drone system to make accurate plant stand counts

Black Gold Farms is one of the U.S.’s large geographically diverse potato producers. Three years ago, the company decided to put Agremo’s AI based drone system for determining accurate plant stand counts to the test. Since 2020, the number of fields surveyed by drones and analyzed by Agremo’s image software has rapidly increased to now include 100% of Black Gold’s potato production acres.

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UPGC report: Canada brings in another record potato crop in 2022, despite adverse weather and regional variability

Statistics Canada has estimated Canadian Potato Production in 2022 to be 122,970,000 hundred weight, up 0.8% over 2021. Despite a very cold and wet spring delaying planting and very hot, dry weather in many parts of Canada throughout August and into the harvest, Canada still brought in another record crop compared to the 5-year average, a good supply to match the continually increasing demand for processing potatoes both here in Canada and in the United States, reports Victoria Stamper, General Manager of United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC).

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Potatoes USA: Despite slight decrease in volume, potato retail sales increased above pre-pandemic levels in dollar sales

Potato retail sales increased in dollar sales by 17.8% but decreased in volume sales by 2.1% from July – September 2022 compared to the same timeframe a year ago, according to a news release issued by Potatoes USA today. The industry body says despite a small decrease in volume sales, volume sales remain above pre-pandemic levels. Over the last five years, the average consumer price per pound of potatoes has increased each year.

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New report provides insight into trends that will transform the food and agricultural world in 2023 and beyond

Nourish Food Marketing, in partnership with Kahntact have released their 7th annual Trend Report. The 2023 Report provides insight into nine key trends that will shape and transform the food and agricultural world in 2023 and beyond, from ‘un-ignorable’ issues like climate change to the historic highs of food inflation, ‘female food’, and the future of eco-conscious agriculture.

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IFA: Potato consumption picks up in Ireland and Europe, ambient stores difficult to hold in the UK

Retail demand and household consumption in Ireland have picked up since colder weather has set in, as the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) reports. Storage costs are a multiple of last year’s costs and growers must immediately receive an increase at farm gate level to compensate for this, IFA says. In the U.K. ambient stores are difficult to hold while it has been so mild and “wets” in bags are a problem for some growers.

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Canadian Potato Council provides perspective on USDA draft report regarding potato wart situation

The USDA has published a draft report for public consultation assessing pathways of introduction for potato wart from Canada into the United States. In a recent press release issued by the Canadian Potato Council, the industry body’s manager, David Jones says, “You may be aware of statements from industry stakeholders regarding the report that have raised your concerns about the movement of potatoes grown on Prince Edward Island (PEI). We wish to clarify the intent of the report and the basis upon which the pathway analysis was conducted.”

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ADAPT: Field trials conducted in Austria to find stress-tolerant potato varieties

The Horizon 2020 EU project Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato (ADAPT) aims at developing new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging growth conditions of the future. A total of 16 varieties were selected for trials in Austria with a focus on representing abiotic stress resistance. Eleven varieties obtained from potato breeders involved in ADAPT, namely HZPC, Solana, Meijer and NOES, are also being tested for drought and heat tolerance in Spain and the Netherlands.

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NEPG: Total 2022 production down 6%, planted acreage expected to go down in 2023

Production in the North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) member countries is said to be down by 6% this year compared to last year. Planted acreage is expected to go down in 2023 because of rising production and storage costs in the four member countries – Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands (EU-4). On average in the NEPG zone, between October 2021 and October this year, electricity prices have gone up on average by 280% (ranging from 50 to 500% increase).

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New AFFI research reveals increased use of frozen foods by foodservice operators

New research finds that more than 90% of foodservice operators use frozen foods in their menus, with the healthcare, convenience store and fast casual categories reporting the greatest increase in use since 2019. Forty percent of foodservice operators surveyed reported purchasing more frozen foods than they did in 2019. A large majority of operators report purchasing frozen vegetables (83% of operators), potato products (78%) and fruits (76%).

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New report on ‘Agricultural Sustainability and Food Production’ released

In collaboration with William Masters at Tufts University, Chris Said from Apollo Academic Surveys asked leaders, fellows, and awardees of the American Society of Agronomy, the American Society of Animal Science, and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association about their views on agriculture and food production. The results of the survey was publish by Apollo Academic Surveys in a report on October 7, 2022.

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IFA: Harvest conditions in Ireland ‘very poor’, European growers push for sales to avoid storage costs

Retail sales and consumption have picked up and stabilised in Ireland since the weather has deteriorated. According to the Irish Farmers Association’s (IFA) weekly market report, harvest conditions remain very poor following heavy rainfall. Across Europe in the fresh consumption sector, a good steady demand is reported, with values in Germany edging higher. While markets are currently flat, growers are pushing for sales to avoid storage costs.

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APHIS posts new PCN Eradication Program report

APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Pale Cyst Nematode (PCN) Eradication Program in Idaho has posted its 2022 third quarter report (July 1 – September 30). The report updates program activities and eradication progress, and provides quarterly and aggregate regulatory, survey, and laboratory data.

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New Univ of Idaho Extension bulletin focuses on devastating potato disease – bacterial ring rot

University of Idaho Extension has published a new bulletin to help potato farmers recognize the symptoms of bacterial ring rot (BRR) and protect their operations from the devastating crop disease. UI Extension Seed Potato Specialist Kasia Duellman hopes the bulletin will remind commercial and seed potato farmers to maintain good sanitation practices and remain vigilant for symptoms. She warns ring rot “can be an existential crisis for a seed potato grower’s business”.

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IFA: Wet conditions hamper potato harvest in Ireland, prices trending higher in Europe

Harvest was ground to a halt in many areas in Ireland over the last week with very wet weather conditions, the outlook for the next week looks unsettled also, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly potato market report. There are reports of some quality issues with current conditions. Across Europe, those with quality samples are confident and continue to try to force prices higher. There is an anticipation that values will improve in the fresh sector.

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Canadian crop update: Harvest wrapping up with variable yields reported across the country

Potato harvest is in the final stages across Canada, according to United Potato Growers of Canada’s final Crop Update for the season. Most provinces have enjoyed excellent harvest conditions without the high temperatures experienced in early September nor the wet conditions of early spring. Yields have been variable across the country, and even between regions within provinces, with overall production estimated to be slightly lower than 2021.

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Hot potato! Canadian research into heat-tolerant potatoes builds on award-winning study

Helping producers find potato varieties that are more resistant to the potential disruption to growth caused by extreme heat is critical for ensuring the sustainability and profitability of potato production in Canada. Recognizing this need, Dr. Xiu-Qing Li, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research scientist has been studying heat-stress in potatoes for years, leading to a number of breakthroughs in recent years.

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