EuroBlight, a late blight monitoring network for Europe, is continuously examining the ongoing evolution of the European population of the potato late blight pathogen. Euroblight has now released a report detailing the results of the 2021 monitoring activities. Approximately 2500 samples from 26 countries were genotyped. According to the report, blight pressure in 2021 was higher than average across many parts of Europe.
International economist Steven Cerier writes in this article, published by Genetic Literacy Project, that agriculture must become more productive to feed a growing world population. This can only be accomplished by the further application of science and technology, “and not as some suggest by going backwards in time to a much simpler and idealized form of farming that shuns the use of biotechnology and technological advances such as artificial intelligence (AI), drones, robots and microchips…”
In the third in a series of 11 blogs on commodity market developments, elaborating on themes discussed in the April 2022 edition of the World Bank’s Commodity Markets Outlook, John Baffes and Wee Chian write that fertilizer prices have risen nearly 30% since the start of 2022, following last year’s 80% surge. Urea prices are expected to remain at historically high levels for as long as natural gas and coal prices remain elevated.
A third of fish and chip shops in Britain could be at risk of closure due to food shortages caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, industry leaders have warned. The National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) has called on the Government to “act now” to prevent “long-term damage” to the popular takeaways, Sky News reports.
Potato farmers are warning that growers will walk away from the industry as cost pressures make the staple crop unviable in Australia. “When farmers were getting 80 to 90 cents a kilo for potatoes, they were about $4 at the supermarket. Now, they’re getting 40 to 50 cents a kilo and they’re still about $4 at the supermarket,” says Tony Galati, a potato grower, washpacker and retailer.
It can take more than 400 years for plastic to degrade, and 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been manufactured since the mid-1900s, according to National Geographic. Part of the solution may have been found in Idaho Falls. Global manufacturer BioLogiQ turned to potatoes for the answer.
Potato planting in Britain has got off to a good start this season, with the dry conditions in some areas not expected to affect emergence. Velcourt Advisory Services agronomist Patrick Levinge says soils have been left very dry by the lack of rain, but at this stage, it should not be having a negative impact on crop development. Common scab is likely to be an issue on susceptible varieties.
So far, climate change has brought mixed news for farmers in Maine. It is linked to warmer temperatures and drought, but also brings more frequent and intense rainfall that can damage crops with rot or soil erosion. Extra warmth has helped add an extra week to the end of the typically short Maine potato growing season. But it comes with a suite of challenges.
Fry crisis in Asia: KFC Singapore stops selling french fries; McDonald’s Philippines serving just regular fries
KFC Singapore said on Thursday (28 April) that it is not offering French fries for now but assured customers that the item “will be back soon” amid a global potato shortage. McDonald’s Philippines has paused sales of larger portions of their fries due to “the global freight crisis,” saying they are “working hard to bring back all sizes very soon.”
Yara’s new potato ‘Incubator Farm’ explores synergies of crop nutrition and carbon footprint reduction
Yara has recently established a new Incubator Farm in the Columbia Basin of Washington, aimed at exploring how a complete potato crop nutrition program that drives productivity and grower profitability can simultaneously lead to a reduced carbon footprint.
Potato planting is under threat as high input costs will lead to a decline in production unless growers are supported, the national potato chair of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Sean Ryan has said. As Rubina Freiberg reports for Agriland, the margin for growing potatoes has always been tight, but according to Ryan, the upcoming season will not be viable if growers don’t receive price increases. “Many growers will simply not plant,” he said.
Double-digit cost inflation is hitting every single enterprise of British agriculture, casting doubt on the sector’s ability to maintain food supplies in the year ahead. Latest figures from the AF buying group shows that no farming enterprise has been able to avoid the impact of soaring costs, with cereals and oilseed producers seeing the greatest increases at 28%, followed by potatoes, dairy, and beef and lamb producers – all hit by inflation of more than 20%.
Recent dry weather has allowed good progress on maincrop preparations and plantings at this point. More growers are reported to be finished in the south east. Across Europe in general potato prices are holding quite well but consumption levels have dropped back since Covid restrictions have eased over the last few months. In France, it is reported that annual consumption levels have dropped back by about 10%.
South Korea’s Lotteria burger chain seeking potato suppliers ‘other than U.S.’ due to supply chain frustrations
McDonald’s Korea and Lotteria are suffering from frozen potato shortages, scrambling to replace their French fries with chicken nuggets or cheese sticks due to supply chain problems amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Lotte GRS, operator of Lotteria, reportedly said it is seeking other global potato suppliers instead of the U.S., where the fast food franchise imports most of its frozen potatoes from.
Farmers across the Atlantic region in Canada say their operating costs have increased significantly with fertilizer imports from Russia under sanction, and some are looking for alternatives, according to a recent CBC News report. Fertilizer Canada CEO Karen Proud said about 85 to 90 per cent of all nitrogen fertilizers used in the eastern provinces come from Russia.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly potato market report that growers storing potatoes are incurring huge increased costs due to soaring energy bills. The 2022/23 planted area in North West Europe could be the lowest for some time and this is a contributing factor to the pricing confidence levels going forward, according to IFA.
Potato supplier Branston in the UK has partnered with new technology provider Root Extracts to develop a potato plant protein for use in vegan and vegetarian food. Potato protein is high in amino acids and had a high level of functionality – meaning it could, for example, be used as an egg replacement binding agent, the supplier added.
Sustainability and climate change continue to be a part of the conversation, both in policy discussions and within the potato supply chain. During Potato Expo 2022, the hosts of the National Potato Council’s Eye on Potatoes Podcast sat down with two of the industry’s sustainability leaders who are working to ensure the potato industry remains at the front of agriculture’s sustainability success story.
Supplies of potato chips and various confectionaries are now under threat as a result of disrupted export of key ingredients caused by sanctions and the Ukraine War. As Peter Caddle reports for Breitbart, Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine has led to significant disruptions in global supply chains, with the West losing access either partially or fully to some essential goods and resources from the two nations.
Rabobank’s RaboResearch – Food & Agribusiness team released this research report recently. They say that higher fertilizer prices and/or a shortage of fertilizer supply resulting from the war in Ukraine will not have an immediate impact on food prices and/or food production. The first crop-growing regions to be ‘at risk’ are India and Latin America. India is partially out of danger, but Latin America is highly exposed.
“Growing potatoes can sometimes feel like it’s a constant battle. From seed import and export restrictions following the UK’s departure from the European Union to a shrinking armoury of crop protection products and pandemic-induced changes in consumer demand. Despite these challenges, potatoes can still be a financially rewarding crop.” This, according to a recent article posted online by Bayer Crop Science in the UK.
“Ominous” is the word that Trent Cousins uses to describe the mood in the potato industry these days on Prince Edward Island. He’s co-owner of Allan Equipment Manufacturing in Covehead, Prince Edward Island, and his company had big, expensive equipment on display at this year’s International Potato Technology Expo that took place this Wednesday and Thursday in Charlottetown.
Following the Russian invasion in Ukraine, potato markets have been somewhat hesitant during the last weeks, according to the North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) association. Some areas originally earmarked for potatoes will most likely be planted with spring cereals, maize and/or sunflower. Most everyone in the potato chain face higher production costs.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly market report that many growers will be forced to cut back on planted acreage of 2022 crops due to input costs. Growers currently storing potatoes are experiencing significant costs due to the rise in energy, these spiralling costs must be recognised and paid for by potato packers and retailers.
Dear Readers, the FAO updated its FAOSTAT database in February 2022, and it now includes final crop statistics for 2020. Potato News Today extracted the 2020 data for potatoes as it relates to “total production” (metric tonnes) and “total area harvested” (hectares), and present the results for 140 potato producing countries in the tables on this page.
A meeting of Scottish seed potato growers in Forfar the past week has agreed to set up a co-op to represent the sector. As John Sleigh reports for The Scottish Farmer, the new body, which is as yet unnamed, aims to deliver four outcomes for the seed potato sector; support development of markets; secure economic and environmental sustainability; fund research, innovation and more.
A deal to export 2,000t of Scottish seed potatoes to Russia has been scrapped by PepsiCo following criticism of the arrangement. As Ed Henderson reports for Farmers Weekly, the company said “a couple of lorries” had already left Scottish farms this week, but following discussion with growers, the decision had been made to stop future shipments.