Trends

Drought will mean poor quality potato crop and financial losses, British farmers say

The drought that has been declared for parts of England will result in a poor quality potato crop and significant financial losses, farmers have said, according to a news report by Claudia Rowan for the Independent. She reports that one livestock farmer said the dry conditions will lead to “inevitable” shortages, while a potato farmer said his crops are dying in front of him “every day now”.

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‘Very scary’: European agriculture hit hard by climate change and drought

With Europe suffering through an extreme drought worsened by climate change that has dried up rivers and left millions sweltering in triple-digit heat this summer, farmers across the continent are sounding warnings about crop losses, as Melissa Rossi reports for Yahoo News. Nearly two-thirds of the territory in the 27-country European Union is either dealing with drought or is poised to enter one.

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Supporting regenerative practices: McDonald’s Canada and McCain Foods partner to launch ‘Future of Potato Farming Fund’

Today, McDonald’s Canada and McCain Foods Limited announce a new partnership to create the ‘Future of Potato Farming Fund’ by investing $1M in education, demonstration, and cost-sharing grants to support potato farmer adoption of regenerative practices and technology. The new Fund’s goals are building soil health and farm resilience as Canadian potato farmers face the escalating impacts of climate change on yield and crop quality.

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Droughts in Europe: Almost half of the EU and UK territory at risk

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre recently published the “Drought in Europe – July 2022” report, an assessment of Europe’s drought situation based on the European Drought Observatory. The analysis of the evolution and impact of the prolonged drought in the EU shows that a staggering portion of Europe is currently exposed to warning (44% of EU+UK) and alert (9% of EU+UK) drought levels.

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Offsetting produces UK’s first carbon-neutral potatoes

Morgan Scale is growing carbon-neutral potatoes in west Wales by using his cover crops and crop rotation to offset greenhouse gas emissions from his spuds and so produce for the UK’s first zero-carbon potato brand. His potatoes and those from five other Pembrokeshire growers are now available under the Root Zero brand throughout the UK.

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Idaho farmers plant 25,000 fewer potato acres in 2022

Idaho farmers planted 25,000, fewer potato acres this year, an 8 percent decrease compared with 2021. Idaho farmers planted an estimated 290,000 acres of potatoes in 2022, down from 315,000 in 2021, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Many people expected spud acres in Idaho to be down this year but the 25,000-acre decrease came as a surprise to a lot of people.

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Report: Sharp rise in input costs, increased holding levels impacting planted potato acreage in Canada

Earlier this month Statistics Canada released their first estimate of potato acreage in Canada as a result of data obtained from their survey of potato growers in Canada. The 2022 potato acreage is estimated at 385,128 acres. This is almost flat compared to 2021, only 242 acres more. Significant rises in input costs – fertilizer and fuel predominantly – coupled with increased holding levels in some of the Eastern provinces, impacted seeded acreage in 2022.

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Farmers struggling to make ends meet: Simplot and Tasmanian spud farmers in standoff over rising prices

Farmers have rejected a second price offer made by food manufacturer Simplot for their potato crop this season. They say the extra $105 a tonne the company has put forward is still not enough to cover the cost of growing their crop this season, which is around $20,000 a hectare. As Laurissa Smith and Fiona Breen report for ABC Rural, Sassafras farmer and contractor Scott Rockliff said inputs including fuel and fertiliser were spiralling. Farmers said they were thinking about other options, whether it be more sheep or cattle or other crops.

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McCain Foods sells Russian potato plant, completing its exit from the country

Canadian french fry giant McCain Foods Ltd. has sold its Russian potato production facility, completing the company’s exit from Russia. This latest corporate exit from Russia was part of a large exodus driven by both moral concerns of Russian aggression and punishing international sanctions that severely restricted the travel of goods, people and capital in and out of the country.

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Australian farmers warn of 30 per cent potato price rise

A 4kg bag of humble potatoes is set to join iceberg lettuce in the $12 club at Australian supermarkets in coming weeks as farmers warn of a potential 30 per cent price rise. And with a price hike in potatoes comes a jump in the price of Australian’s beloved hot chips, with rises expected at restaurants, fish and chip shops, fast-food chains and pubs.

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Heatwave to push up price of chips, say British potato farmers

The price of chips is set to increase after recent high temperatures ravaged crops, potato growers in Britain have warned. According to a BBC report, farmers said the heatwave had added to pressures caused by rising costs linked to the war in Ukraine. The British Potato Trade Association (BPTA) said the heatwave had compromised the “yield and quality” of potato crops.

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PepsiCo says its new Green Bond can be used for regenerative agriculture practices across its supply chain

PepsiCo announced today the closing of a new $1.25 billion 10-year Green Bond. The Company says it will use an amount equivalent to the net proceeds from the offering to fund Eligible Green Projects which will focus on its pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) agenda. It will focus on investments to deliver key environmental sustainability initiatives under two pillars of its pep+ agenda: Positive Agriculture and Positive Value Chain.

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PepsiCo’s new ESG Summary offers first look at progress toward the company’s ‘positive goals’

PepsiCo this week published its first Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Summary since the launch of PepsiCo Positive (pep+), a strategic end-to-end business transformation with sustainability and human capital at the center of how the company will create growth and value. The 2021 ESG Summary details initial progress and real-world examples across three pillars – Positive Agriculture, Positive Value Chain and Positive Choices.

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Frito-Lay snacking survey: Consumers go beyond just flavors, look to companies’ promises when choosing a snack

The latest U.S. Trend Index from Frito-Lay polled consumers on their snacking preferences and priorities and found that the 90 percent of consumers who snack daily care about the companies whose snacks they’re eating. Snack companies’ attention to sustainability practices (77 percent), community impact around food access (78 percent), and treatment of employees (87 percent) are among the top values driving purchasing decisions.

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‘Waste less’: New U of I potato storage researcher aims to minimize post-harvest losses

Gustavo Teixeira knows the best way to supply more food to a growing population is by wasting less of it. As a new assistant professor and potato postharvest physiologist with University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Teixeira will use advanced scientific techniques to help Idaho potato growers, processors and shippers waste fewer of the spuds they harvest.

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Why spuds are cheap as chips in the UK – while wheat prices rocket

Commodities markets are in uproar, wheat prices have reached record highs and the cost of food is rocketing. “Yet the humble spud – a staple grown on our doorstep – is still cheap and plentiful,” writes Sarah Chambers in a news story for East Anglian Daily Times. This year’s East Anglian potato crop is looking very promising. But prices are low – making some of the farmers’ crops uneconomical.

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Japan’s top potato chip maker Calbee to raise prices up to 20%

Calbee Inc., Japan’s answer to Frito-Lay with an enormous product line-up ranging from pizza-flavored potato chips to low-carb granola, is raising prices again as companies struggle to absorb costs that are climbing at the fastest clip in years. As Lily Nonomiya reports for Bloomberg News, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement Wednesday it will raise the prices of snacks and cereals in Japan by 5% to 20% from September.

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‘Progress Together’: Lamb Weston issues new sustainability report

Lamb Weston Holdings issued its third annual Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) report today, reporting progress against 2030 ESG goals announced in its last report. “Our teams are committed to working together to make progress against our ambitious 2030 goals,” said Tom Werner, CEO, Lamb Weston. “We’re focused on our long-term future, which means making meaningful changes to reduce our impact on the environment.”

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Sharp increase in packing costs for Idaho potato growers

The cost of packing Idaho’s most famous commodity, potatoes, has risen at least 36 percent over the past two years. That’s according to a new report funded by the Idaho Grower Shippers Association (IGSA), which represents shippers, growers, marketers and processors of Idaho potatoes. “That’s a pretty big increase,” said IGSA President Shawn Boyle. “It’s pretty drastic.”

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FAO Director-General: ‘Doubling global potato production in 10 years is possible’

Potatoes could contribute even more to world history and global food security, and total production of the food crop could double in the next 10 years, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said in his keynote presentation to the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC), which was convened in Dublin at the end of May.

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University of Idaho researchers aiding in development of solar-powered weeding robot

A pair of researchers from University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences are partnering with a Washington company to develop a solar-powered robot that will rove autonomously through farm fields and eradicate weeds. The company behind the project, Aigen, based in Kirkland, Washington, hopes to have a prototype of the robot finished by late this summer. The robot will have wheels and will be roughly the size of a shopping cart, rolling between rows in farm fields before crop canopies close.

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