Sustainability

Controlled-release nitrogen potatoes perform well in trials

For Long Island potato grower Allan Zilnicki, using controlled-release nitrogen (CRN) fertilizer on 20 acres of his Riverhead, N.Y., farm represents an intangible benefit well worth the cost. “It’s the right thing to do,” says the third-generation farmer. Zilnicki’s family has grown potatoes on the North Fork of Long Island for more than 80 years. He wholesales and sells his[Read[Read More…]

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Cavendish Farms to breed drought resistant potato varieties, company president says

Cavendish Farms is working to develop potato varieties that can thrive in dry growing conditions on Prince Edward Island, says the company’s president Robert Irving. Irving was a guest speaker during the P.E.I. Youth Farmers annual general meeting at Murphy’s Community Centre this past Saturday. “We’ve got a whole seed investment now,” said Irving. “We’ve got a seed specialist and[Read[Read More…]

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African Potato Association announces 2019 triennial Conference

The African Potato Association’s (APA) core objective is to promote production and utilization of potato and sweet potato for food and nutrition security in Africa. Additionally, the APA facilitates knowledge sharing by bringing together diverse stakeholders in the potato sector across Africa and other countries. The African Potato Association local organizing committee together with the Rwanda Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) and[Read[Read More…]

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Starship nematodes: ‘One tiny step for a nematode, one big step toward sustainable agriculture in space’

An exciting collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Pheronym (Alachua, FL), will send nematodes into space to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission represents a look into the future where food crops will be grown in space. The goal is to develop environmentally friendly methods for space travel that are not harmful[Read[Read More…]

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New $50 million govt program announced to ‘support competitiveness and sustainability in the Canadian agricultural sector’

The Canadian Federal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay has announced the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP) this past week. It will focus on four priority areas: adoption of new technology; environmental sustainability; strategic development and capacity building; and, emerging issues. Examples of potential projects could include those addressing artificial intelligence technology, tools to assess future labour and skills needs, bio-crops,[Read[Read More…]

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‘Land well-suited for potatoes in Britain will decline by 74% under climate projections,’ new report warns

Extreme and unpredictable weather – made more frequent by climate change – is putting future supplies of British potatoes at risk, according to a new report. The analysis, from The Climate Coalition, says that the changing climate is posing a threat to British fruit and vegetables because of more frequent and severe heatwaves and flooding. The summer 2018 heatwave was made[Read[Read More…]

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Changing climate challenges potato growers, chipmakers

Michigan is the largest grower of potatoes for chips in the US — about one in four bags sold in the US is made from Michigan potatoes. Can climate change jeopardize the state’s dominance? Maybe, a new study warns. That’s because warming temperatures will require more ventilation and refrigeration — and thus higher energy bills — to store potatoes after[Read[Read More…]

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DripByDrip: Joint project to develop new tools for crop protection using drip irrigation

Bayer, Netafim and BGN Technologies join forces in a research project that combines soil research, digital prediction tools and state-of-the art drip technology by Netafim to develop best practices for using drip irrigation as a delivery system for the Bayer nematicide Velum Prime in Israel. Lately, social acceptance of the use of chemical crop protection products became limited, which resulted[Read[Read More…]

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Canadian potato grower embraces 4R Nutrient Stewardship

4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source @ Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place®) is a science-based framework offering verified best management practices proven to increase crop yields and economic return while reducing environmental impacts such as greenhouse gases and nutrient losses to water. Modern day farming has come a long way, benefitting from decades of innovations that have made agriculture a[Read[Read More…]

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Novel mustard meal extract for control of potato cyst nematodes

Potato Grower magazine reports in its February 2019 issue on the potential of a novel mustard meal extract for control of PCN. In the article, it is pointed out that nematode-related damage has been estimated to reduce yield by nearly 25 percent in the US. Globally, nematode damage is estimated to reduce yield by 12 percent, at a cost of $157[Read[Read More…]

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Integrated pest management will play an ‘increasing role’ in UK crop production, says NFU president

Integrated pest management (IPM) will play an ‘increasing role’ in UK crop production post-Brexit and agronomists are leading the way in its implementation on farm. Speaking at the recent Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC) near Towcester, NFU president Minette Batters warned delegates that 42% of farm businesses will be loss making if direct payments are lost after the UK[Read[Read More…]

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The potato solution: How Britain’s Guardian newspaper switched to biodegradable packaging

In January, the Guardian became the first national newspaper to use recyclable packaging.  As part of a pioneering move to reduce plastic waste, the Guardian’s print edition will no longer be sold in plastic packaging.  In an article published today, the team behind the project explains how they did it and what responses they received from readers. Richard Furness, managing director[Read[Read More…]

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New tech needed for British farmers to battle climate change, NFU says

The NFU has called on government to support investment in new technologies to help farmers in the fight against climate change. Technology will play an important role in increasing efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions stemming from the farming industry. The union said farmers are ‘ready to play their part’ in the climate challenge, and are striving to achieve net[Read[Read More…]

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Washington potato industry raising funds to study soil management

Washington’s potato industry has raised $2 million toward creating an endowed professorship at Washington State University to study soil management. An additional $1 million is needed, said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission, likening the project to “solving a riddle.” The commission and potato processors are contributing to the position, which will study soil management in potato[Read[Read More…]

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UK’s Guardian newspaper switches from plastic to biodegradable potato starch wrapping

UK national newspaper The Guardian has scrapped its polythene packaging in favour of a compostable wrapping made from potato starch, in a bid to reduce its plasticwaste. The publication’s weekend print edition comes with a variety of supplements that have, up until now, been contained in a polythene wrapping to ensure they reach their audience intact. Readers of last weekend’s edition will have[Read[Read More…]

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Crunch time for crisp makers as EU waste targets loom

The European Commission has set an EU-wide objective for all packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2030. But crisp packets are a particular headache for policymakers and the recycling industry because they are so tiny and lightweight. Walkers, Britain’s largest crisp manufacturer, announced in October it was launching a scheme to recycle the 7,000 non-recyclable crisp packets it produces every minute. The[Read[Read More…]

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This Canadian french fry plant is fueled by potato scraps

What goes around comes around at Cavendish Farms in New Annan, on Canada’s Prince Edward Island province, where potato scraps from the french fry plant are used at a nearby biogas facility to fuel the fry factory they came from. According to the company, generating biogas allowed it to reduce its dependency on fuel oil by 30 per cent, reducing greenhouse[Read[Read More…]

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British company recycles potato peelings into MDF substitute

London-based designers Rowan Minkley and Robert Nicoll use waste potato peelings to create an eco-friendly alternative to single-use materials like MDF and chipboard, called Chip[s] Board. Shocked by the environmental impact and short lifespan of many readily disposable materials, Minkley and Nicoll set out to develop a material that, if thrown out in the same way, wouldn’t have the same[Read[Read More…]

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US potato operation building a lasting, productive system with successful biotic practices

Third-generation potato grower Brendon Rockey likes to help teach and show producers how to improve their farm health with successful biotic methods. Rockey Farms is located in south-central Colorado in the San Luis Valley. Brendon said Rockey Farms began the process of using less chemicals and fertilizers. They used compost and cover crops. Because their operation is in a region[Read[Read More…]

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Walkers launches first nationwide recycling scheme for crisp packets

The first nationwide recycling scheme for crisp packets has been launched earlier this month by Walkers and TerraCycle in the UK. As reported in October in Packaging News, consumers can drop off their packets at public access collection points or post them for free directly to TerraCycle for recycling. There they will be cleaned, shredded and turned into small plastic[Read[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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