Studies/Reports

British potato market update

AHDB Analyst Thomma Shepherd reports in the latest Ptoato Weekly report that free-buy markets experienced a downturn in trade this week, with most overall demand met by contracted material. Markets have seen demand dampened by the coronavirus pandemic, with Christmas parties this year restricted by government guidelines. The processing trade has seen quieter levels of demand, with free-buy prices declining slightly from last week. Much of this demand is able to be met using contracted supplies.

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In an age of biofortified food: Study reveals potato’s potential for reducing anemia

Potatoes can be an excellent source of iron. This means potatoes could play an important role in efforts to reduce iron deficiency – the leading cause of anemia, which affects about 2 billion people globally. Whereas people absorb only about 2-10% of the iron in most vegetables, 8% of the iron in pearl millet and less than 10% of the iron in beans, participants in this study absorbed 28% of the iron in the yellow-fleshed potato they ate.

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Canadian researcher in pursuit of finding potatoes that are resistant to disease, drought and greening

A Prince Edward Island-based Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researcher, Dr. Bourlaye Fofana, grows 814 different genetic lines of potatoes in fields at AAFC’s Harrington Research Farm, all in pursuit of finding potatoes that are resistant to disease, drought and greening. Dr. Fofana is working to develop potato varieties that are resistant to common scab disease, making crops more plentiful and profitable and providing blemish-free produce for consumers around the world.

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Current trends in the British potato industry

The English lockdown seems to have had a limited effect on the free-buy market. Packing demand is leading the way, with chipping seasonally quiet and processing continuing to see trade covered primarily by contracts. Some quality issues are being reported due to bruising, wet rots and also wireworm and slug damage.

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Opinion: ‘To plant or not to plant potatoes’ in the Netherlands in 2021

In reality, there is no indication at this point in time that most arable farmers in the Netherlands are opting to plant a smaller potato area in 2021, writes industry analyst Haijo Dodde in a recently published article in the Dutch agriculture magazine Nieuwe Oogst. Dodde writes that the North-Western European Potato Growers organization (NEPG) recently called on potato growers in Europe to plant 15 percent fewer potatoes. The question now is to what extent growers are following this advice.

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Researchers say apical rooted cuttings are the solution for cheaper potato seed in India

In a recently published research brief, CIP/CGIAR researchers Samarendu Mohanty, Sampriti Baruah and Ravindranath Reddy explain that the potato sector in India continues to face serious problems accessing good-quality planting materials at affordable prices for small and marginal farmers in many potato-growing states. So, how do we solve the potato seed problem, the researchers ask. They say two things need to happen.

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Can horsetail weed extract become the source of a new biopesticide to combat late blight?

Scientists from Tyumen State University in Russia took part in a research study on how peptide extracts of medicinal plants affect the development of potato late blight. Horsetail extract is recognized as holding promise for combating it, and might become a main source for the development of a new biopesticide, the press service of Tyumen State University reported on Thursday. The results of the work were published in the journal Plants.

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WSU creates new endowed chair in soil health to support potato agriculture

Launching new research in support of Washington potato growers, Washington State University is partnering with industry leaders to study healthier, more sustainable and productive soils. Backed by a more-than-$3 million fund created by potato growers, processors, and suppliers, WSU’s newly created Distinguished Endowed Chair in Soil Health for Potato Cropping Systems will address priorities in irrigated agriculture, including the need to better understand and protect the soil we rely on to grow potatoes, a critical part of our global food supply.

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Canada gets in on US potato demand

According to an article published by Blue Book Services, Canada has put a stake in the ground when it comes to exporting potatoes into the US. Blue Book says Canada trailed Minnesota and Oregon in terms of volume in 2019. However, in 2020 it has surged to the No. 4 spot by bringing in nearly 450 million more pounds of product.

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US potato exports still impacted by pandemic, but beginning to recover

US potato exports for the July – September quarter were down significantly compared to the same period in 2019, Potatoes USA says in a news release issued today. The body says this drop is a result of the pandemic’s continuing impact on the demand in many markets, particularly in SE Asia and Central America and the tight supplies of US frozen potato products. Additionally, exports for this period in 2019 were at record levels, so the bar was set very high.

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Linuron gets the nod from Health Canada for weed control in potato crops

Linuron is a selective systemic herbicide registered for the control of annual and perennial broadleaf and grassy weeds in a wide range of cultivated crops, including potatoes. Health Canada recently completed a re-evaluation of linuron. Under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act, Health Canada has determined that continued registration of products containing linuron is acceptable in a handful of crops, including potatoes.

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What does Lockdown 2.0 mean for the British potato industry?

Lockdown 2.0 “arrived” in Britain and this brings widespread closure of pubs and restaurants once again. Although the rules differ across the country, with Wales’ firebreak rules coming to an end, Scotland experiencing regional restrictions and England in a full national lockdown. This will inevitably effect the potato industry, but the effect is unlikely to be as dramatic as the first lockdown, according to the AHDB.

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US: Northern Red River Valley potato growers hit with back-to-back harvest losses

The farmers whose crops were left unharvested were waiting for rain to soften the dirt lumps so they wouldn’t bruise the potatoes, The dry fall that resulted in ideal harvest conditions for most Red River Valley crops wreaked havoc on potatoes near Grand Forks grown for the fresh market.then temperatures dipped into the low double digits and froze

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Opinion: COVID-19 and global potato markets – Impact and consequences

The Coronavirus has had a major impact on the global potato industry since its discovery and spread earlier this year, writes Cedric Porter, editor of World Potato Markets magazine. The crisis led to a 20 percent increase in household consumption of table potatoes in April-May in many countries. Trade in potatoes and potato products declined 3,4% to € 13,240 billion for the Northern Hemisphere from August 2019 to July 2020. The crisis has shown many buyers that potatoes are nutritious, versatile and a valuable food.

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Final Canadian crop report: Production well below average, but good harvest season

“As this final crop report of the season is prepared, potato harvest in Canada is complete in most provinces with the exception of Quebec,” says Kevin MacIsaac, General Manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). He writes that growers are about 90% done, and hopefully should finish up by October 31 as the weather forecast improves from the wet and cold conditions experienced over the last couple of weeks. Based on what is known today, Canadian Potato Production is substantially below that of 2019 and below the 5-yr. average.

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Study found that potato based diet does not disturb blood sugar control in diabetes

Researchers have found for the first time in a rigorously controlled clinical trial that people with diabetes don’t need to avoid potatoes. It is often said that potatoes with high glycemic index should be avoided by diabetics as they may adversely affect blood sugar. But the study indicates that glycemic index is not an accurate surrogate for an individual’s glycemic response (GR) to a food consumed as part of an evening meal. The researchers concluded that potatoes are a vegetable that is sustainable, affordable and nutrient-dense, and thus, they can play an important role in modern diets irrespective of metabolic health status.

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NEPG: Potato plantings in Northwestern Europe expected to decrease by a minimum of 15 %

The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) estimates that the total harvest will be 27.9 million tons this season if all potatoes in the ground will be indeed harvested. In a press release the NEPG says the harvest is later than usual with all the risks involved and there are still some potatoes in challenging wet areas in Western Belgium and Great Britain. This is 4,5 % or 1 million tons more than last season in the 5 leading potato countries. The NEPG considers that the growers in the North-Western EU will plant 15 % less next spring.

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Researcher said to solve ‘potato herbicide puzzle’

When potato farmers show the University of Idaho’s Pamela Hutchinson apparent early season damage from herbicides, she wonders if excess rainfall is to blame. “The last three years, I’ve been asked by growers farmers to go out in the field in the spring or early summer. They see what they thought was herbicide damage to potatoes before or right after emergence,” she said. “Unusual conditions during the spring probably are what drove what you would consider injury. That condition was excess rainfall.” Hutchinson, associate professor and potato cropping-systems weed scientist with UI Extension in Aberdeen, is studying how excess rainfall plays into potato injury and weed control.

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Australia: Former plant protection officer delivers review into potato imports into Tasmania

Approval to grant a South Australian company a licence to import potatoes into Tasmania will remain unchanged following an independent review, according to a report by Caitlin Jarvis of The Exminer. Jarvis reports that former federal chief plant protection officer and plant pathologist Lois Ransom handed her findings into the controversial decision on Monday. Ms Ransom found the decision to approve a conditional import licence for “ware potatoes” – or potatoes for human consumption – to Mitolo Group was technically sound.

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British planted potato area one of the lowest on record

According to AHDB figures released yesterday, the 2020 GB planted potato area is one of the lowest on record seeing a 2.3% year-on-year drop. In a news report, AHDB says the total 2020 planted GB area (revised estimate) is 117.47Kha. This updated estimate indicates a drop in planted area of 2.3% compared to last year and represents the GB area covered by over 90% of producers. This puts the planted area for 2020 as the third smallest on record, behind only 2016 and 2017. The driving force behind the drop is mainly the processing sector, but also the fresh bags sector with a combined reduction of 4.1Kha.

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HZPC potato breeding company says it ‘closes eventful year with a healthy result’

The 2019/2020 financial year has been eventful in many respects for HZPC, the company says in a press release issued earlier today. HZPC says that despite the consequences of COVID-19, the company has had an operationally successful season. The coming season, however, may well be more of a challenge, HZPC says. The potato breeder says it is on the cusp of a season which encompasses a huge, global economic recession.

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Innovative Farmers: Can brackish water be used for potato irrigation?

New trials run by Innovative Farmers Field lab and funded by AHDB in the UK will research the possibility of using brackish water for potato irrigation. Irrigation plays a vital role in potato quality. Growers in areas such as Holbeach Marsh, one of the driest regions in the UK, are facing considerable economic yield losses due to common scab. Under future climate projections AHDB and Innovative Farmers anticipate more unpredictability in rainfall events, increased saline intrusion of groundwater reserves and therefore a more vulnerable freshwater supply, which could impact on potato yields in the area.

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Potatoes New Zealand issues technical bulletin on Potato Tuber Moth management

As New Zealand Spring and Summer rolls towards potato growers, so too do the myriad of pest and disease management activities. One of the greatest challenges especially for growers, is the control of Potato Tuber Moth (PTM). Potatoes New Zealand’s recently completed PTM literature review looks at the various control approaches to this pest and suggests an integrated approach to PTM management. The review of scientific publications from the last 10 years on potato tuber moth research, focusses on several management options.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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