Studies/Reports

Eco-friendly farming: Study finds fresh potato cultivation produces much less greenhouse gas emissions than cereal production

The Union of the German Potato Industry (UNIKA) and the German Potato Trade Association (DKHV) have commissioned a significant literature review focused on the carbon footprint associated with potato cultivation and processing. The review showed potatoes have a lower carbon footprint than cereals, with the potential for further reduction. This study found processing increases emissions, and variables like fertilizer use impact the footprint, highlighting the crop’s role in sustainable food production.

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‘Terra Carbono’: Pioneering a greener future in the potato industry

Terra Carbono, an innovative Hungarian ag-tech company, focuses on sustainable potato cultivation, aiming to reduce carbon footprints and improve agricultural productivity. They create biodegradable, carbon-negative products that boost yield, conserve water, and minimize chemical use while enhancing soil health. Terra Carbono is engaged in several partnerships for community betterment and sustainable practices.

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Unprecedented weather conditions disrupt potato planting in Ireland and across Europe, market gap looms

Extreme weather in Ireland is causing delays in potato planting, impacting the national economy. The Irish Farmers Association reports excessive rainfall leading to minimal progress and potential market shortages. Similar issues are occurring across Europe, constricting current potato stocks with main processors trying to mitigate supply chain disruptions. The situation reflects the strong link between climate and agricultural stability.

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‘Milky tuber tale’: Molecular farming startup to produce dairy proteins in potatoes

Finally Foods, an Israeli startup, has debuted with pre-seed funding, producing dairy proteins in potatoes through molecular farming. The founders, former Evogene VP Basia J. Vinocur and Dafna Gabbay, are building a B2B ingredient company, not a consumer brand. With funding from The Kitchen FoodTech Hub, the focus is on protein systems and partnerships for initial scaling in Israel, aiming for future US regulatory approval.

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IFA: Weather crisis in Ireland, planting delays in Europe

The Irish Farmers Association reports severe weather impacting Ireland’s potato crop, with limited early planting and a shortage of main season crop expected to worsen. Despite robust consumption, unsettled conditions persist, delaying planting across Europe. Prices remain stable despite planting delays, including in the U.K, where only eastern regions made some progress.

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Smart phosphorus use could boost food production and protect vital reserves, study finds

Scientists from New Zealand and the UK assert that more effective use of phosphorus, a key plant growth nutrient, could extend its global reserve lifespan to 531 years. This finding from the Lincoln Science Centre and Lancaster University study, published in Nature Food, emphasizes the need for improved phosphorus management in agriculture and recommends more targeted fertilizer application, efficient formulations, and enhanced recycling from wastewater.

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Rethinking soil fumigation: A new study explores its impact on agricultural sustainability

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied the effects of soil fumigation on agricultural sustainability, focusing on potato fields in Wisconsin. The study, which analyzed various indicators of soil health, found that fumigation’s impact varies significantly by soil type, enhancing outcomes in sandy soils but not in loamy soils. The research, published in Field Crops Research, emphasizes the role of soil microbial diversity in agricultural productivity and calls for tailored soil management practices to support sustainable agriculture.

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Potato market dynamics: Egypt’s currency woes, Ukraine’s import surge

Currency devaluation in Egypt has cheapened its potato exports, spiking international market demand but raising domestic supply concerns. Meanwhile, Ukraine experiences a market downturn with rising potato imports, mainly from the EU, lowering local prices. These cases reflect the global potato market’s susceptibility to economic, policy, and trade variables, highlighting the necessity for sustainable agriculture and resilient economic strategies.

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Breeding the super spud: How scientists are striving to create climate-resilient potatoes

The ADAPT project explores breeding resilient potatoes through genetics. Researchers have discovered how the SP6A protein triggers potato formation and how high temperatures disrupt this process. By manipulating genes related to SP6A, they’ve produced potatoes that grow earlier and in greater numbers, even in adverse conditions. Findings on the GERMIN3 gene also contribute to improved potato yield by managing sugar supply during growth. Such advances aim at securing food production despite climate challenges.

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From Irish fields to European markets: Navigating potato production delays and export dynamics

The latest report from the Irish Farmers Association shows strong home consumption and retail trade for potatoes in Ireland. Planting is delayed, with virtually no sowing before St Patrick’s day and decreasing stock causing price increases. Across Europe, wet conditions have postponed early crop planting, though some areas like South West France now report better progress. Export demand fluctuates, reflecting diverse regional farming challenges.

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MSU’s pioneering diploid potato project backs research into new way of breeding potatoes

About a decade ago, Michigan State University’s professor Dave Douches, launched the SolCAP initiative, funded by the USDA NIFA, focusing on potato and tomato crop improvements. He spearheaded a shift towards breeding diploid potatoes, which have two sets of chromosomes, enabling easier gene editing and rapid genetic progress. With Project GREEEN’s support, his efforts include developing self-compatible diploid potatoes and enhancing pest resistance, such as against the Colorado potato beetle.

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The TRUTH project: Transforming the future of Britain’s soil health analysis with a farmer-led platform

The TRUTH project, backed by a £1M Defra grant and implemented by BOFIN and others, aims to revolutionize soil and root health understanding through advanced research and sensor technology in the UK. It introduces novel microbial sensing and soil testing tools, establishing a farmer network, the Soil Circle, for knowledge sharing, and equipping ‘Root Rangers’ to enhance sustainable soil management practices.

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Potato farming reimagined: Navigating the future of potato production with advanced technologies

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today, elucidates the agricultural revolution transforming potato farming. The advancement integrates drones and AI, creating a synergy between traditional methods and technology. This modern approach optimizes aspects like irrigation and pest control, leading to sustainable practices and higher yields. Collaborative efforts, including enhanced accessibility and training, are key to overcoming technical and financial hurdles. These innovations promise to redefine the potato industry as we know it.

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Rain delays and rising prices: The dual challenge facing potato markets in Ireland and Europe

The Irish potato market remains stagnant as wet weather hampers planting and harvesting, causing tight supplies and rising prices, the latest weekly potato market report from the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). This reflects a wider European trend of dwindling potato stocks and increasing costs. Persistent rains particularly hinder early crop planting in coastal regions of Ireland. The industry awaits improved conditions for delayed planting to stabilize the market.

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American farmlands face crisis: Soil erosion outpaces regeneration

Mihai Andrei’s ZME Science article reports severe soil erosion in the US Midwest, exacerbated by agriculture, with losses up to 1,000 times the rate of natural replenishment. Highlighting a critical threat to food sustainability, Andrei emphasizes the urgency for sustainable farming practices, like no-till methods and cover cropping. He urges action from policymakers, researchers, and consumers to preserve topsoil and ensure long-term food security.

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The digital eye in potato breeding: How machine vision is shaping the future of spuds

A team of U.S. scientists published an innovative cost-effective phenotyping strategy to improve potato breeding in the Plant Phenome Journal. This scalable, machine vision technology assesses size, shape, and color of potatoes with high precision, streamlining the breeding process. This AI-driven method, also capable of detecting defects and inferring weight, offers a new approach to selecting and cultivating superior potato varieties, significantly advancing the field.

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Potato pressure: Ireland and Europe grapple with tightening stocks, seed unavailability and unpredictable weather

The latest IFA weekly potato report highlights increased local potato demand in Ireland due to colder weather, causing price hikes and low stocks. Seed potato scarcity presents a potential crisis for future crops. European potato exports remain high despite rising prices affecting Eastern European sales. The UK’s potato planting is delayed by wet conditions, further complicating the market.

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Rising prices and tightening stocks: Ireland’s potato situation echoes across the UK and Europe

Ireland’s potato industry is grappling with dwindling stocks and empty grower stores, as highlighted by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). Difficult harvesting has led to clay-contaminated potato boxes, reducing saleable yields and pushing up prices. This trend is echoed across Europe, with rising processing potato prices and cautious market responses. The U.K.’s planting delays may further strain the tight potato supply and inflate prices, affecting everyone from farmers to consumers.

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Michigan State University scientists cracking the code to a healthier potato chip

Michigan State University scientists made a discovery revealing the genetics behind cold-stored potatoes darkening and health risks. Published in The Plant Cell, the research could lead to new potato varieties resistant to cold-induced sweetening (CIS), reducing harmful acrylamide production during processing. This advancement is crucial for the U.S. snack industry, including Michigan’s $240 million potato market, as it could ensure a consistent supply of fresh potatoes year-round while enhancing chips and fries quality.

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‘The golden crop’: New report details how the U.S. potato industry bolsters the economy and job market

The National Potato Council’s report, prepared by Michigan State University economists, highlights the significant economic role of the U.S. potato industry, worth $100.9 billion. With $2.2 billion in exports from July 2022 to June 2023, accounting for 20% of U.S. potato production, these exports underpin substantial domestic activity and jobs—nearly $4.78 billion in economic contribution and about 33,846 jobs. The potato industry at large supports over 714,000 jobs across the nation.

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The great potato leap: Unveiling the economic power of U.S. potato trade expansion

On February 26, 2024, the National Potato Council will host a roundtable to discuss a report by Michigan State economists on the U.S. potato industry. The report predicts a $1 billion GDP increase and thousands of new jobs from expanded potato exports. Key figures from the council will speak and answer media questions. The findings could position the U.S. as a significant global agricultural player and strengthen international trade relationships.

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Michigan’s mighty spuds: A $2.5 billion boost to state economy and job market

Michigan’s potato industry generates over $2.5 billion for the state’s GDP and supports roughly 21,700 jobs, solidifying its status as an economic powerhouse and the second-largest commodity in Michigan, behind apples. A Michigan State University study highlights its significance, with Michigan being the national leader in chipping potatoes, supplying one-fourth of U.S. potato chips.

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‘Tiny titans of the farm’: Nanotechnology poised to revolutionize agriculture, but cautious steps needed

Scientists from the School of Biological Sciences, Central University of Kerala anticipate nanotechnology will significantly advance agriculture, as detailed in their review published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Research. Nanotech approaches, like nano-fertilizers, biosensors, and enhanced seeds, aim to improve yields, reduce environmental impact, and combat food insecurity due to climate change and population growth. However, challenges such as potential nanoparticle toxicity, ethical issues related to accessibility, and ecological effects must be addressed responsibly.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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