GREATsoils Webinar: Intended to help growers make changes to soil management practices and improve growing systems

AHDB Horticulture funded GREATsoils project in the UK has found that growers are becoming increasingly interested in soil health and how it affects the success of their business. The information that will be provided in this webinar will help growers to make changes to their soil management practices and improve growing systems. The project has used grower field trials, field[Read More…]

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Far more toxic than glyphosate: Copper sulfate, used by organic and conventional farmers, cruises to European reauthorization

Recently, the European Union decided to reauthorize the fungicide copper sulfate, a popular pesticide among organic farmers that has a more toxic rap sheet than glyphosate. Copper sulfate is a widely used pesticide in organic farming but which also is used in some conventional applications, although the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) considered toxicity risks[Read More…]

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Certified seed: Measure seeks to prevent potato diseases in Michigan

Michigan farmers with more than an acre of seed potatoes would face new requirements under a bill passed by the Michigan Senate and House: to plant only certified seed potatoes. The intent is to reduce the possible spread of diseases that could have a major economic impact on the state’s agricultural industry, supporters say. Michigan ranks ninth among the states in potato[Read More…]

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Bayer, Ginkgo Bioworks biologicals venture aims to reduce chemical fertilizer use by farmers

The joint venture (JV) between Bayer Crop Science and Boston startup Ginkgo Bioworks has a name: Joyn Bio. Bayer and Ginkgo, a startup genetically engineering microbes for the flavor, fragrance, and food industries with $429 million in funding, announced the partnership in September 2017. The partners, along with hedge fund Viking Global Investors, are collectively investing $100 million in the venture, making it the second largest deal from an[Read More…]

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McDonald’s becomes first restaurant company to set science based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

McDonald’s announces it will partner with franchisees and suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 36% by 2030 from a 2015 base year in a new strategy to address global climate change. Additionally, McDonald’s commits to a 31% reduction in emissions intensity (per metric ton of food and packaging) across its supply chain by[Read More…]

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US: Innovative project to transform potato processing waste into bio-ethanol and protein concentrate

Greenbelt Resources Corporation in collaboration with Biofuels & Energy, LLC announced today the San Luis Valley Bioproducts Project, known as SLV Biopro. The project is designed to produce up to a half a million gallons of bio-ethanol from an abundance of potato waste available in the San Luis Valley area of Colorado. SLV Biopro is devised to provide a viable solution to potato[Read More…]

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Waste not: Potatoes South Australia partners with researchers to produce vodka from potato skins

The transformation of food waste with limited value to a premium product with high value is on the agenda through a project being undertaken by Potatoes South Australia, the University of Adelaide and Adelaide Hills Distillery. While potatoes are traditionally used to make vodka in many parts of the world, these three organisations are partnering to look into the feasibility of making vodka from potato[Read More…]

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Potato math: US student wins $250,000 prize for potato blight solution based on mathematical model

According to a CNN report, New York student Benjamin “Benjy” Firester has won one of the United States’ top young science prizes for his research on potato late blight. The 18-year-old senior at Hunter College High School beat 1,800 students in the race to the $250,000 first prize at the Regeneron Science Talent Search, which counts 13 Nobel Prize-winners among its alumni. Firester’s[Read More…]

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British farmers to be given first ever targets on soil health

According to a news article in The Guardian, a new bill will be brought before the British parliament this year mandating, for the first time, measures and targets to preserve and improve the health of the UK’s soils, amid growing concern that we are sleepwalking into a crisis of soil fertility that could destroy our ability to feed ourselves. The UN has warned[Read More…]

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Researchers find rotations with Brassicas consistently reduce soil-borne diseases in potatoes and improve yields

If you’re dealing with some tough soil-borne diseases as a potato grower in North America, adding canola, mustard or rapeseed to your potato rotation could help. That important finding emerged from potato rotation studies in Maine, led by Dr. Bob Larkin, a research plant pathologist with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Over the past 12 years, USDA researchers conducted[Read More…]

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MacFry Potato Academy opens its doors to spud growers

According to a news report published by Farmers Guardian in the UK, potato growers supplying McDonald’s are set to benefit from the provision of free agronomy skills training to improve crop performance and quality with the launch of the MacFry Potato Academy. The Academy is a joint initiative between NIAB and McDonald’s UK and Ireland, in association with potato suppliers McCain[Read More…]

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Potato Cyst Nematode results: How reliable are yours?

So your Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) tests have come back negative. Good news…or is it? That largely depends on how the land was sampled and how the samples were analysed. Scottish Agronomy’s Eric Anderson warns that approaches vary enormously so results can be very misleading. The world of seed potato growing is relatively black and white with a statutory process that[Read More…]

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Spore trapping: Another tool in managing potato late blight

Control of late blight is mostly achieved through fungicide application, and growers anticipate that late blight control requires routine applications of fungicides at high rates and short intervals throughout the growing season, beginning at 50 per cent emergence. This is an unsustainable situation that is now being questioned, according to potato expert Prof Khalil Al-Mughrabi, ‎Plant Pathologist & Adjunct Professor[Read More…]

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Biological inputs assist in farm health

Third-generation potato farmer Brendon Rockey is showing producers across the globe how to improve farm health with biotic methods. He showed them as a breakout speaker on “Biotic Farming: Fundamentals and Applications,” during the inaugural Soil Health U and Trade Show, held recently at Salina, Kansas. His grandfather founded the farming operation at 6,700 feet of elevation near Center, Colorado, in the[Read More…]

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US: Impact of CIPC use under review by the EPA

As a part of a Registration Review process, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in the US is reviewing the data associated with the use of Chlorpropham (CIPC) – the major sprout inhibitor used in the potato industry. The Task Force representing the companies that manufacture and sell CIPC are actively working with EPA to provide any additional data to support[Read More…]

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Newly introduced potato varieties set for success in Tanzania

Tanzania has excelled in experimental trials of high yielding and disease resistant potato varieties under a Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) programme of the FAO aimed to improve food security in the country. Three of 14 varieties brought into the country by the International Potato Centre (CIP) for field trials did well and two of them will soon be released. Two of[Read More…]

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Chep pooled pallets gives Albert Bartlett environmental edge

Leading potato supplier, Albert Bartlett, is enjoying significant environmental savings within its supply chain thanks to the use of Chep’s pooled pallets. The Scottish potato company supplies own label and branded lines of potatoes to retail, wholesale, food service and processing customers, and recently signed a three-year contract renewal with Chep, an international company dealing in pallet and container pooling[Read More…]

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US: Two potato power houses join forces

Farm Fresh Direct (Monte Vista, CO) and Cal-Ore Produce (Tulelake, CA) have announced they are joining forces to continue to increase both their organic and conventional programs. Farm Fresh will act as the exclusive sales and marketing agent for Cal-Ore and will service the U.S. with cost effective, one-stop shopping solutions, they said. Acording to Jamey Higham, president and CEO[Read More…]

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Potatoes: The key to providing food for potential Martian colonists in the future?

Few can call themselves more of a potato enthusiast than the Weather Channel’s science editor, James Crugnale. He, like a growing number of spud science aficionados, believe the potato is the key to providing food for potential Martian colonists in the future. “Potatoes are one of nature’s most fantastic vegetables,” Crugnale told Inverse at the Inverse Lunar Eclipse Party and Science Fair at Caveat in New York City, where[Read More…]

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Experts provide practical guidelines for fertilizer management in irrigated potato production

Optimum potato growth and profitable production depend on many management factors, one of which is ensuring a sufficient supply of nutrients. When the supply of nutrients from the soil is not adequate to meet the demands for growth, fertilizer application becomes necessary. A comprehensive nutrient management program is no doubt essential for maintaining a healthy potato crop, optimizing tuber yield[Read More…]

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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 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 More…]

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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