Production/Agronomy

NEPG: Slight rise in European potato acreage, uncertain outlook for markets

The North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) estimates that the area for consumption potatoes in North-Western Europe increased with 0,5% compared with last year towards 621.148 ha. Under current market conditions, this is considered as too large an acreage, however, the COVID-19 situation arrived at a time when growers already ordered their seed potatoes and rented potato land, and for many it was too late for an area reduction. According to the NEPG, there are many more questions than answers during the current growing season in most potato producing countries around the world.

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Scotts sends its largest ever Evolution separator order to France

A UK manufacturer of vegetable harvesting and handling machinery has supplied its largest-ever order to France. Scotts Precision Manufacturing has sent 12 of its Evolution separators to DOWNS, a French manufacturer of potato handling and storage equipment. According to a press release issued today, the unique machines, which gently separate vegetables from soil and clod and haulms, will be incorporated into DOWNS grading machines which have been ordered by farmers across France, Belgium and Europe.

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AHDB webinar: Putting research into practice

Listen during this upcoming AHDB Potatoes webinar tomorrow (9 July) to what potato growers are planning across the AHDB strategic farm network. Through the week folks will have learnt about markets, research and commercial innovation – this session will discuss how this is being applied in the field and what growers can do to progress. Eric Anderson will offer an agronomist’s perspective on how we can build better strategies towards PCN management and the latest views on alternative approaches to virus control.

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Canadian potato growers and scouts can now download scouting resources

Growers and scouts in Canada can now download three scouting resources that will help them know when and what to scout for in potato fields. On May 21 and 28, 2020, Potatoes in Canada hosted a webinar series with Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist with the Ontario Potato Board, on how to scout pests, diseases and physiological disorders in potatoes. In addition to the webinar series, Banks has made her scouting resources available as PDFs for download.

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Potato planting in the UK holds up despite challenges for growers

New UK potato figures have revealed a mere 1% drop in planted area despite a turbulent season for growers. Provisional estimates from AHDB show the planted area in Great Britain at 119Kha, which, if correct, shows only a 1% drop on last year. The fall takes into account revisions to the 2019 planted area data since September. Covid-19 doesn’t appear to have had an effect on planting decisions as many growers had already made plans by the time the pandemic hit.

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Washington and Oregon potato acreage down, but plenty expected

Potato production in the Northwest was strong in 2019, and the outlook for 2020 looks similar, said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Moses Lake-based Washington State Potato Commission. “We had a good harvest of the 2019 crop, great quality, strong yields, and strong pricing for our growers and shippers,” he said. The ongoing pandemic of the new coronavirus COVID-19 remained perhaps the top concern across the industry, said Gary Roth, executive director of the Portland-based Oregon Potato Commission.

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Viewpoint: Without modern, industrial farming, pandemic would have claimed many more lives

In November of 2019 The Atlantic asked “experts” what they would change if they could go back in time. The experts had titles like “mythographer” – no scientists invited – so it’s no surprise only one response had real-world relevance, A historian at Rutgers wished agriculture had never been invented. Agriculture, that fundamental progressive achievement which made food plentiful so that we no longer spent our days foraging and could learn things and, you know, create universities, had to be undone. How out-of-touch with the world must you be when you wish to go back in time 10,000 years and re-implement periodic famine?

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UK: New blight forecasting app launched

British potato growers can now access the latest blight forecasting information with launch of a new simple to use smartphone app by UPL UK & Ireland. The UPL Blight Forecast App, displays Hutton Period and Smith Period data, alongside additional layers of information such as leaf wetness and spray conditions. Once downloaded, users can identify and save multiple field locations by adding a pin in a satellite map.

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Second growth: A physiological potato problem induced by heat and drought

Second growth is a physiological potato problem induced by prolonged air temperatures above 280C and water stress, according to Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist working in Ontario, Canada. These 2 factors interact to limit the tuber growth rate, thus causing second growth. Inadequate soil moisture alone does not result in the initiation of second growth.

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Estimates show small drop in UK potato planted area

New estimates show a small drop in the UK planted area for potatoes despite a turbulent season for growers. Provisional figures from AHDB show the planted area in Britain at 119Kha, which, if correct, shows only a 1 percent drop on last year. The fall takes into account revisions to the 2019 planted area data since September. The figures suggest a minimal impact from the coronavirus crisis on planting decisions, as many growers had already made plans by the time the pandemic hit.

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The sad story of US potatoes being destroyed during the coronavirus pandemic…

Folks, I have nothing to add, really? Just watch the video below and you will see and realize how many potato growers – especially in the Northwest of the US – suffered an unprecedented and terrible catastrophe this year when the COVID-19 crisis hit the industry… It is sad, it is nearly unthinkable – but it is real… Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those hard working potato growers…

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Vegetable growers in the US rally to conquer COVID-19-induced challenges

The vegetable industry in 2020 is living through extraordinary times. The State of the Vegetable Industry survey that Growing Produce conducted this year gave invaluable insight into what you are experiencing when it comes to production issues, labor, and specialized areas like protected agriculture and technology. “When the government says you can’t have any customers, guess who becomes your customer? The government,” Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council (NPC) says. It’s only a short-term solution, he says.

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Keep your eyes peeled for the latest potato research

Potato rowers can tune in to hear about all the latest in potato research through a series of webinars from the AHDB in the UK, Running from July 6 until the 9th, AHDB has put together a virtual ‘Potato Showcase Week’ highlighting the results of the on-farm trials taking place at its Strategic Potato Farms across the UK, as well as a series of webinars on industry-related topics ranging from agronomic management to future solutions and market dynamics.

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Disease risk for potato growers from alternaria and late blight this season

Following the second wettest winter on record across Britain, dealing with crop trash and volunteers has been difficult to tackle in the field. This will lead to an increased inoculum reservoir and a heightened risk for development of alternaria and late blight this season. Technical Manager at UPL UK & IE, and potato crop specialist, Don Pendergrast discusses further.

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Canada: More potatoes? Saskatchewan announces $4-billion project doubling irrigable land

Premier Scott Moe announced a $4-billion irrigation project that will irrigate 500,000 acres of land from Lake Diefenbaker and double the irrigable land in Saskatchewan. Stephanie Gordon of Potatoes in Canada reports. The project is beginning with an immediate $22.5 million investment in preliminary engineering and initial construction. Water is critical to potato production, and expanding irrigation capacity in Saskatchewan will broaden the crop options for producers.

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UPGI: Idaho potato crop ‘second lowest since 1998, harvest expected to be down more than 6 million hundredweight’

In a June 30 report published by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) it is estimated Idaho planted 300,000 acres this season, down by 10,000 acres from the prior year. The United Potato Growers of Idaho estimated a deeper cut in Idaho’s planted potato acreage, at 295,790 acres. “It will be the second lowest acreage since 1998. That’s good news,” said Rick Shawver, CEO of UPGI. Based on Idaho’s average potato yield, the acreage reduction could reduce the state’s harvest by more than 6 million hundredweight of spuds, according to Dan Hargraves, executive director of Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative.

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Trending: ‘The Age of Agrochemicals is Ending – It’s Time for Agricultural Biotechnology’

As Europe moves to reduce its reliance on agrochemicals in the farming system over the next 10 years and beyond, a crucial question emerges: what replaces them? Agricultural biotechnology could provide the answer, writes Farhan Mitha in this insightful article published by Labiotech Insider. The use of agrochemicals — pesticides, fertilizers, and plant growth enhancers — has been crucial to humanity over the last century. Yet, their impact on the environment has become too profound to ignore, and they’re increasingly seen as 20th-century instruments that are ill-suited for 21st-century challenges.

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The Netherlands: Ware potato acres down, seed potato area up this season

This year, the total cultivation area for ware potatoes in the Netherlands has declined by nearly 1.8 thousand hectares to 77 thousand hectares (-2.3 percent), according to a report issued this week by Statistics Netherlands. According to information published in the report, areas planted for seed and starch potato use have increased slightly over the past twelve months; both by approximately 1 percent. The share of seed potatoes in the total potato area has continued to rise slightly again over the past year.

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Idaho research company put custom built plot sprayer to work

This tractor sprayer that you will see in action in the video below was custom built by Terry Miller and Scott Anderson for Miller Research, based in Rupert, Idaho. The company says the sprayer “is great for applying chemical to our research plots. This video shows the many features of our spray tractors, as well as how we calibrate for our sprays.” The tractor can hold twelve tanks for twelve different treatments. Each slot has a magnet that agitates the product in the tank.

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Report: Potato market outlook for the UK

AHDB has published its report on the outlook for the British potato sector. Says Phil Bicknell, AHDB Market Intelligence Director: “Whenever I discuss our outlooks, there’s always one question that crops up – why bother, things will change, what do you do then? The answer is simple – we revisit our outlooks and update the numbers. Like any forecast, it’s based on a set of assumptions, and it’s inevitable that we’ll get new information and better data. In uncertain times, there’s always a reason to wait for more.” Potato News Today re-publish the AHDB market outlook for potatoes here, courtesy of AHDB.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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