Sustainability

Potatoes prevent food crisis and restore ‘dignity and hope’ in Ethiopia, Irish aid agency says

Irish potatoes have prevented another major humanitarian food crisis in one of the poorest and most remote parts of Ethiopia, the Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide has said. The humble spud, introduced by Concern Worldwide into the country’s drought-prone northern highland regions in 2007, is credited with a major drop in food shortages and improvements in the local economy. The[Read[Read More…]

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Scottish researchers to review ways to lower agricultural nitrogen emissions

Scottish climate change researchers are exploring ways that farmers could reduce emissions from nitrogen fertiliser use. Led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and funded by ClimateXChange, the project forms part of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan. The plan specifically highlights nitrogen fertiliser as a potential area of improvement and suggests this could be achieved through a combination of improved[Read[Read More…]

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Health Canada announces new restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides to protect bees

Earlier this week Health Canada announced in a press release that it has completed its re-evaluations of the neonicotinoid pesticides clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam in relation to their potential impact on bees and other pollinators, and has released the final decisions for each. According to Health Canada, the scientific assessments show varying effects on bees and other pollinators from exposure to each of these pesticides.[Read[Read More…]

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4R practices for fertilizer management in potatoes

Phosphorus is a key nutrient for the development of the potato plant and tubers, writes The Fertilizer Institute’s Director of Agronomy Sally Flis on NutrientStewardship.org. The status of P in the plant, deficient or sufficient, is closely related to yield. With the high value of a potato crop and the influence of proper phosphorus nutrition on plant and tuber development,[Read[Read More…]

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Tolsma-Grisnich: ‘Improving your agribusiness in an intelligent way’

Just like your car, tractor or other machines, your storage facility also needs periodic maintenance to ensure trouble-free operation. You are even under a legal obligation to have your cooling installation inspected every year.  Failure to maintain a storage facility properly will also lead to higher costs in the long run. So make sure that your ventilation, cooling installation, electrical[Read[Read More…]

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Groundwater: The resource we can’t see, but increasingly rely upon

People have used groundwater for thousands of years, especially in arid regions such as the Middle East and North Africa, where hand-dug wells and subsurface tunnel systems collected and diverted it for early societies. These ancient methods amounted to skimming the shallow groundwater off the top of massive aquifer systems—the vast stores of invisible groundwater beneath the continents that account[Read[Read More…]

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French parliament opposes imports of Canadian potatoes treated with bee-killing insecticide

The French parliament has strongly opposed the European Commission’s plan to increase the maximum residue limits of several neonicotinoids including clothianidin, an insecticide that kills bees, and haloxyfop-R, a herbicide that is toxic to human health, FreshPlaza reports. This is a way to show their contempt for the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which Europe and[Read[Read More…]

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One-pass potato cultivation cuts costs and improves yields, potato grower finds

Trials by crop consultants Niab Cuf have revealed that intensive cultivations have no benefit on potato yields, tuber size or quality, marking it out as a process that farmers can simplify to cut costs and improve soil structure. Northern Irish grower Richard Orr has put this theory into practice, cutting his establishment costs by £250/ha by switching from a traditional[Read[Read More…]

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Can potato peels become the hot new eco-friendly building material?

We all eat potatoes but often get rid of the skin or peels.  But two UK-based designers Rowan Minkley and Robert Nicoll use waste potato peelings to create an eco-friendly alternative to single-use materials like Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and chipboard – which they named as Chip[s] Board. Shocked by the environmental impact and short lifetime of many readily disposable materials,[Read[Read More…]

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The push to eradicate nematodes from infected potato fields in Japan

In August 2015, the first case of potato ‘white’ cyst nematode Globodera pallida (G. pallida) was detected in the Northeastern parts of Hokkaido, Abashiri. This region in Japan is famous for its starch potato fields and is a contender for being the area where the most potatoes are grown with the highest yield, as well as the largest volume of[Read[Read More…]

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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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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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