Sustainability

Scientists create potato starch paint as petroleum-free alternative

Researchers in Germany have derived film formers for paint using potato starch. Although there has been numerous attempts to use “organic” components as a base for paint, none have proved to be at par with industry standards. This step from the science community at Fraunhofer has allowed us to have an insight towards creating true “natural” coating products that leaves[Read[Read More…]

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Herbicide injury in potato an important focus of university extension program

The Potato Extension program at the North Dakota State University (NDSU) / University of Minnesota (U of M) is focused on developing science-based solutions to address potato production management problems by increasing economic and environmental sustainability through improved management practices. One of the major Extension and research interests include working on herbicide injury in potato and developing educational tools to[Read[Read More…]

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UK: Potato growers ‘must look in dusty corners’ to innovate

Researchers are continuing to make strides in helping UK potato growers to get the best crop with the least environmental impact as a nationally-significant Suffolk farm project reached the end of its second year, farmers were told this week. Elveden Estate farm manager Andrew Francis said forward-thinking growers had already made innovations and were now looking for gains in less obvious[Read[Read More…]

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Canadian researchers develop Colorado potato beetle resistant plants

Research scientists with Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada (AAFC) have developed two varieties of potato plants with built-in beetle resistance that could help lower pesticide use and reduce the number of potato plants destroyed by pests each year. Dr. Helen Tai, who works out of the Fredericton Research and Development Centre, said the development of the new varieties is timely with growing concern surrounding the[Read[Read More…]

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Research finding: When pests graze certain potatoes, yields double

When some Colombian potato varieties are lightly grazed by a pest, the plants respond by growing larger tubers, at times doubling their yields. Although many types of plants can repair pest damage while maintaining productivity, it’s rare to find species that actually overcompensate and increase productivity. Cornell University and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia researchers first discovered this effect in a[Read[Read More…]

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Canadian research looks at the use and loss of nitrogen fertilizer in potato crops

Potato plants need a lot of nitrogen to produce tubers at optimum levels, but with more applied nitrogen comes an increased risk of nitrogen loss to the atmosphere. Guillermo Hernandez Ramirez, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta, is studying the use and loss of that fertilizer in potato crops. He is testing various nitrogen fertilizer formulations and biostimulants to[Read[Read More…]

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UK: First SDHI fungicide to control Rhizoctonia said to offer 20% more yield

The first in-furrow SDHI fungicide for potatoes offers farmers another option for controlling Black scurf, caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani, a disease that can slash marketable yields by 30%. (SDHI stands for Succinate DeHydrogenase Inhibitors in the UK). Although growers can successfully control the disease with azoxystrobin, it can prove harsh on plants leading to delayed emergence. However, from next season[Read[Read More…]

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How Frito-Lay is making its products healthier

“Somebody was telling me the other day that we have over 3,000 flavors in what we call our flavor bank,” said Christine J. Cioffe, Ph.D., senior vice-president, Sustainability and Global Snacks R.&D. at PepsiCo, Inc., parent company of Frito-Lay. “I think it speaks to the power of a company that operates across 200-plus countries.” Flavor, Dr. Cioffe said, is a “stronghold”[Read[Read More…]

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Study shows global climate warming could seriously effect Peru’s potato crop

A trio of climate scientists have shifted their forest research techniques to the rural farming regions of the Peruvian tropical Andes and the warming impact on two dietary staples of Latin America — potatoes and corn. Their findings, published last month in the journal Global Change Biology, are grim. “For these crops, which are representative of other crops grown in the[Read[Read More…]

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The Netherlands: Innovative equipment for potato sprout inhibitor applications emits no CO2

In September, the new potato storage season begins in the Netherlands. An atomiser, specifically for the application of sprout inhibitors in potato storages has been designed and is manufactured by Frans Veugen Bedrijfshygiëne bv. The atomiser, named the Synofog, uses a new technique: electro-thermal atomisation. The advantage of this new piece of equipment is that it does not have an open[Read[Read More…]

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North America: Potato Sustainability Initiative seeking an Executive Director to lead the partnership

The Potato Sustainability Initiative (PSI) in North America is seeking an Executive Director to support its growing programs into the future. Started by the National Potato Council, the Canadian Horticultural Council and a host of potato buyers, processors and growers in 2010, PSI now involves more than 500 growers, McDonald’s, Sysco, the National Potato Council, the Canadian Horticulture Council, Basic American[Read[Read More…]

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Bio-sector in the Netherlands band together in effort to find sustainable solution for potato late blight

In the Netherlands, Aldi and Lidl recently signed a covenant titled ‘Accelerated transition towards resistant/robust potato varieties’. Signees also include Albert Heijn and Jumbo Supermarkets. Superunie, the purchasing organization representing thirteen independent supermarket organizations in the Netherlands, intends to sign the covenant shortly. Potato seed companies who signed the covenant include Agrico, HZPC, C. Meijer, Plantera, Den Hartigh, Europlant, Danespo,[Read[Read More…]

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Belgium: VDH Concept launches new packaging with net structure perforation

VDH Concept, a Belgian company specializing in retail packaging for potatoes, vegetables and fruit, has recently introduced SQ Pack, a new packaging with a net structure perforation. According to Jan van den Heuvel, owner of VDH Concept bvba, “Allowing net structure perforations is a new way of packaging and is suitable for a lot of products, including potatoes and onions, but[Read[Read More…]

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UK: Tesco to fund environmentally-friendly technology to help potato growers

Tesco has announced its involvement in a project to help East Anglian potato growers protect the soil on their farms and the wildlife in surrounding waterways. The project, which Tesco is running with the Broads Authority, is designed to improve farmers’ yields and protect the environment. It is aimed at limiting the amount of top run-off from producers’ fields, which can[Read[Read More…]

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Applied Research: Ground-penetrating radar could help producers dig potatoes early

Ground-penetrating radar might help the potato industry save water, according to Dr. Dirk Hays, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant geneticist in the soil and crop sciences department at College Station. Hays’ latest project utilizes ground-penetrating radar to select early maturing potato cultivars, which can help producers make harvest decisions and increase water-use efficiency. His project is in coordination with AgriLife Research and[Read[Read More…]

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US: More than 500 potato growers and retailers unite on sustainability initiative

The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) announced today their mutual membership and partnership with the Potato Sustainability Initiative (PSI) to align metrics in measuring sustainability issues in the potato supply chain. TSC and PSI will work together to align sustainability metrics for over 500 potato growers and key retail partners. This partnership will also help streamline reporting by potato growers to retailers[Read[Read More…]

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Simplot: ‘154,000 fewer pesticide hectare-applications if all fresh potatoes in Canada had Innate® Generation 2 traits’

In a press release, the J.R. Simplot Company says Health Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have completed the food, feed, and environmental safety assessments of the J.R. Simplot Company’s second generation of Innate® potatoes. The authorizations enable the potatoes to be imported, planted, and sold in Canada, complementing the three varieties of Innate® first generation potatoes that received regulatory[Read[Read More…]

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McCain Foods makes food production more efficient at New Zealand potato processing plant

Most businesses can save serious money by improving energy efficiency. The first wins can be easy – but then what comes next? One of McCain Foods’ food processing plants found more than 100 energy opportunities by inviting staff to an ‘energy blitz’. McCain’s french fry plant near Timaru operates 24/7, turning 146,000 tonnes of locally-grown potatoes into frozen chips every year. Expectations[Read[Read More…]

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Managing soil health in potatoes

Soil health can be seen as the continued capacity of the soil to function as a vital, living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans. This definition from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) speaks to the importance of managing the soil so it can continue to sustain life for future generations. As the experts point[Read[Read More…]

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US: Potato farm tour highlights biological diversity

In the heart of prime potato growing country, one San Luis Valley farm has such a worldwide reputation for soil health innovation that a recent field day attracted guests from Canada, France and Sweden in addition to the surrounding area. Rockey Farms, located a mile north of Center, is a multigenerational operation run by Brendon Rockey, a soil health pioneer who[Read[Read More…]

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NZ: Mesh cheaper than chemicals in stopping potato psyllid

Scientist Dr Charles Merfield believes he has the answer to solving the problem of the potato psyllid, which costs growers about $10 million a year. Trials using mesh to cover the crops have shown an “astonishing” reduction in numbers of the insect, which delivers a damaging bacterium to the plant and tubers, causing major production losses. Not only does the mesh ward[Read[Read More…]

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