Studies/Reports

Video: Building soil resilience with root architecture

In this YouTube video, Dick Neale (Hutchinsons Technical Manager in the UK) discusses the impact on soils that cover crops can have by sheltering the soil surface from rainfall – stabilising the surface of the soil, reducing capping and helping water infiltration. The effect of the cover crops used is also examined, particularly the effects from the different root types[Read More…]

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'Starch Trek': What it takes to breed a new potato variety

[Although this extensive article by Marcel Bruins was originally published by European Seed in 2018, I believe it to be as relevant and topical today as it was then, and I decided to publish a very brief summary of part of it here with a link to the full article. – Lukie] European Seed sat down with some of the[Read More…]

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French fries in China – big opportunities and high hurdles

The market for French fries in China is growing rapidly but barriers to entry exist for foreign providers, as Peter Peverelli of just-food.com explains. The potato, a staple of many European nations, has traditionally only had a supporting role in Chinese cuisine. It is known as tudou (literally: ‘earth bean’) in colloquial Chinese, or malingshu (‘horse bell tuber’) in formal[Read More…]

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Podcast: Agricultural economist explains the risks and benefits of GMOs and the future of crop biotechnology

Few academics eagerly engage the public on controversial scientific topics, content to quietly focus on their research. Agricultural economist and author Stuart Smyth isn’t among them. No stranger to social media and a frequent contributor to the Genetic Literacy Project, Smyth has consistently worked to translate his detailed books and scholarly publications about crop biotechnology into digestible educational content geared toward a[Read More…]

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Multi-state potato research project in the US analyzes improving soil health

It’s called the kitchen sink treatment among the scientists involved in a four-year, 10-state research project analyzing how to replenish depleted soils in potato rotations. Essentially, the researchers throw “everything but the kitchen sink” into improving soil health in their plots — fertilizing with composted dairy manure and planting a crop as “green manure” between rotation crops. Green manure maintains[Read More…]

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Colorado potato grower-brothers cooking up a successful recipe for improved soil health

In some ways, soil health conferences are like recipe swaps — with attendees always on the lookout for a mix of ingredients that will produce better results. One of those recipes presented at the sold-out Western Canada Conference on Soil Health & Grazing last month came from a Colorado potato grower who farms in high-elevation, near-desert conditions and no longer uses chemical inputs. Brendon Rockey calls[Read More…]

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Study: Daily intake of non-fried potato linked to better diet quality compared to refined grains

Potatoes are often equated with refined grains due to their carbohydrate content. Yet, potatoes contain fiber, resistant starch, and key micronutrients that Americans need more of in their diet. A randomized crossover study that included 50 generally healthy adults directly compared the nutrient quality and impact on cardiometabolic risk factors of non-fried potatoes to refined grains. The study was conducted[Read More…]

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CIP: Developing late blight resistant GMO potato varieties for Africa

The International Potato Center (CIP) is working in East Africa to breed GMO varieties of potatoes that combine three forms of resistance to late blight — the disease that can exact costly tolls on smallholding farmers. CIP states that the objective of the project is: “To develop and deliver bio-engineered potatoes completely resistant to late blight to reduce the costs[Read More…]

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Argentina: Field trials with non-browning CRISPR-edited potatoes start

In a study published recently in the Frontiers in Plant Science magazine, scientists from Argentina and Sweden reported they have edited a polyphenol oxidase gene in potatoes (Solanum tubersoum L.). After successfully editing the gene, they obtained tubers free of enzymatic browning. With the approval of the National Agricultural Biotechnology Advisory Commission, field trials began that “will … generate data to register[Read More…]

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US potato market specialist: '2019 could be a year to remember'

2019 could end up being a year that Idaho potato growers talk about for a long time. “This is going to be a year to remember,” Bruce Huffaker, president of North American Potato Market News, said Dec. 10 during University of Idaho’s “Idaho Ag Outlook Seminar.” Potato production in Idaho and around the U.S. is down this year and that[Read More…]

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The hybrid True Potato Seed revolution

Charles Miller, commercial director for Solynta, sits down to talk about the inroads the company has made in regard to hybrid true potato seed. He also talks about his love of fly fishing and what it’s taught him about being successful in business. Interview hosted by Marc Zienkiewicz and recorded at the American Seed Trade Association’s 59th Vegetable and Flower[Read More…]

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World Potato Congress: What’s all this talk about Hybrid breeding and Hybrid True Potato Seeds revolutionizing the potato industry?

The World Potato Congress (WPC) is extremely pleased to be offering this second webinar in its 2020 series featuring Mr. Hein Kruyt, CEO of Solynta.  Hein will give an introduction to HTPS  as well as the exciting opportunity to revolutionizing potato research, breeding and the potato industry.  This technology is said to be disrupting a system that has been in place[Read More…]

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Researchers quantify lygus bug impacts on potatoes

Researchers are tallying the cost of lygus bugs to Washington potato farmers to help determine the most efficient way to control the tiny insects. “We need to know if the economic damage warrants the cost of an insecticide application,” said Tim Waters, area educator for vegetables for WSU Extension in Franklin and Benton counties. The damage appears to be worst[Read More…]

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Using drones and predatory bugs, UC Davis researchers treat crop pests

Entomologists and engineers are collaborating on a new method of controlling agricultural pests. In Santa Monica, Calif., researchers flew drones with light-sensitive cameras over a strawberry field to locate pest-damaged plants. Armed with a map of leaf reflectance patterns, they deployed drones loaded with predatory bugs to spot treat the field.  “Our goal is to eliminate the pests,” said Zhaodan[Read More…]

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Study to test potato product’s effects on chronic kidney disease

Could a starch derived from raw potatoes slow the damaging effects of chronic kidney disease? A Manitoba, Canada clinical trial will test that idea by asking people with the disease to mix a flavourless powdered supplement into a drink, such as a smoothie, each day. Dr. Dylan MacKay, assistant professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba and[Read More…]

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The science of glyphosate: Is glyphosate hazardous to soil health?

There are dozens of conspiracy theories about glyphosate, writes Robert Arnason in an article in The Western Producer. He says one of those theories goes something like this: glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is an antibiotic and it kills all of the beneficial bacteria and fungi in soils. “It makes the soil sterile in some cases leading to less[Read More…]

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UK: Potatoes and parsnips ‘grow on trees’

One in 20 British adults believes potatoes grow on trees and 37% believe apples are a tropical fruit, The Press and Journal reports. Those were some of the findings from a survey of 2,000 adults, commissioned by the Mushroom Bureau – an organisation which promotes freshly-grown mushrooms in Britain. The survey also found 15% believe mushrooms grow underground, 7% believe[Read More…]

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Report: North Dakota fresh market potato cultivar/selection trial results for 2019

Andy Robinson, Extension Potato Agronomist, NDSU/University of Minnesota, Eric Brandvik, Research Specalist, NDSU; and Peter Ihry, Agriculture Technician, NDSU compiled this report. They say potato cultivars or selections included in the report were selected from recently released cultivars or from advancing selections with release potential (numbered lines progressing through the trial process), or cultivars that are new to the US.[Read More…]

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Species specific insecticide ‘seven-10 years’ away

Using RNA interference (RNAi), a biological process which disrupts the production of an organism’s proteins, Syngenta is looking at a biocontrol method which kills target species but has no impact on any other organism, according to a report by Farmers Guardian. Using Colorado potato beetle as an example pest, Mike Bean, global head, product technology and engineering at Syngenta, told[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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