Trends

Smooth harvest, but short yield for Canada’s Manitoba potato growers

Manitoba’s potato crop won’t be breaking yield records, reports Alexis Stockford for Manitoba Co-operator. Then again, at least the crop is off the field. It has not been the case for the last two years. Producers were forced to abandon a significant portion of their crop in both 2018 and 2019 due to wet falls and damage from frost.

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Brexit: British seed potato sector on brink of EU and NI export ban

Britain’s seed potato sector is in turmoil, with just 10 weeks before exports to Europe and Northern Ireland (NI) face a total ban under a no-deal Brexit, reports Jonathan Riley for Farmers Weekly. As an EU member state, Britain has exported 30,000t of seed worth £13.5m to mainland Europe each winter. However, after 31 December, Britain will be classified under EU trade rules as a “third country” unless a trade deal is reached with the EU.

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NEPG: Potato plantings in Northwestern Europe expected to decrease by a minimum of 15 %

The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) estimates that the total harvest will be 27.9 million tons this season if all potatoes in the ground will be indeed harvested. In a press release the NEPG says the harvest is later than usual with all the risks involved and there are still some potatoes in challenging wet areas in Western Belgium and Great Britain. This is 4,5 % or 1 million tons more than last season in the 5 leading potato countries. The NEPG considers that the growers in the North-Western EU will plant 15 % less next spring.

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US potato retail sales exceed 5-year records

Record potato sales continued at retail from July through September 2020, according to a news release issued by Potatoes USA. Total store potato sales are said to have increased by 13.6% in dollar sales and 10.6% in volume sales, compared to the same time frame in 2019. These sales levels are also the highest they have been for the past five years. Frozen potatoes showed the greatest increase compared to a year ago, with a dollar sales increase of 23.9% and a 19.7% increase in volume sales. The only category that declined compared to a year ago is deli-prepared sides.

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European Union: Temporary chlorpropham MRL gets green light

It’s a green light for a temporary Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) for the sprout inhibitor, chlorpropham. That level may be 0.4 mg/kg in ware potatoes. A European Union Standing Committee agreed to this in a digital vote. The temporary MRL is expected to take effect around the summer of 2021. The exact starting date depends on further decision-making within the EU. The current 10.0 mg/kg MRL will remain in force. That’s until the temporary MRL comes into effect. The use of Chlorpropham has been banned. But, ware potatoes will still be delivered under the current MRL. That’s in the 2020/2021 season.

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Earth has warmest September on record, and 2020 may clinch hottest year

The planet just recorded its hottest September since at least 1880, according to three of the authoritative temperature-tracking agencies in the world, reports Andrew Freedman in an article for The Washington Post. The data, most of which was released Wednesday, shows that 2020 is on track to be one of the hottest years on record, with the possibility of tying[Read More…]

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Ireland: Potato growers supplying food service having ‘one of the worst years on record’

According to the latest potato market report by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), liftings continue this week in Ireland following a reasonably dry few days. There are continued reports that yields are below average especially in areas that were affected by drought earlier in the year. As it stands, IFA says that growers supplying the food service sector have had one of the worst years on record. Trade for Kerr Pinks is holding steady and quality is reported as very good.

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Russian potato exports on the up, but imports still exceed exports

Roman Nekrasov, director of the crop production department of the Ministry of Agriculture in Russia reportedly said that in the first nine months of 2020, Russia exported 254,800 tons of potatoes (both table and seed), which is almost 36% more than in the same period last year. Nevertheless. while potato imports are declining, they still exceed Russian potato exports. Over the first nine months of 2020, 293,400 tons were imported into Russia (in 2019 the official figure provided is 298,300 tons). This means that it is necessary to develop the storage capacity of potatoes in Russia.

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A changing market landscape in the British potato industry: What behavioural changes has Coronavirus driven?

Following an extraordinary few months for the industry, join the AHDB Retail & Consumer Insight team during a series of webinars, focused on reviewing how the market and consumers have changed during the coronavirus pandemic, and what opportunities and threats this now presents for AHDB sectors. Grace Randall joins Kim Malley for this webinar focused on potatoes, discussing how purchasing and consumption has been impacted by coronavirus, pulling out the opportunities and threats for the category in the future.

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Brexit reality dawns for Ireland’s potato growers

The potato trade in Ireland has been warned to have all seed potatoes for next year’s crop imported from Britain by December 31, according to a report by Declan O’Brien, published in the Independent. A trade notice issued by the Department of Agriculture said imports of “certified seed and ware potatoes” from Britain will be prohibited from the end of 2020 when the UK leaves the EU.

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GROPRO: Providing growers with the efficacy needed for an organic IPM program

The importance of organic production in the USA continues to rise with total sales of organic products in 2019 hitting $55 billion. Currently, it’s the biggest global market for organic products (# 2 is Germany and #3 is France). To meet this growing market demand, GROP. a USA based producer and supplier of bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers, has been approved for 6 OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) listed materials. With these certifications, GROPRO brings a wide and effective portfolio into the organic agricultural market.

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US: Ongoing drought shrinks Aroostook County potato yields

This year’s potato harvest was met with an unrelenting drought that diminished crops and tied up water resources for Aroostook County, Maine farmers. “We’re in trouble,” said Kevin Grass as he steered a 15-ton potato harvester forward while jotting down notes on the crop and monitoring his crew — tasks he’s come to master simultaneously over the last 30 years. “Our yields are way off.” Potato yields at Grass Farms are down a third this year, and its seasoned farmers point to the drought as the driving force. “I’ve seen dry spells but nothing like this,” said Duane Grass, 77, a third-generation potato farmer.

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Drought dries up potato harvest revenue in Canada’s New Brunswick province

With the harvest season underway, the impact of summer’s drought-like conditions is being unearthed in New Brunswick. Due to a lack of rainfall during the growing season, potato farmers say their yields are down significantly for fall 2020. Like many industries, the potato industry has been hit hard during a most unusual year. The first blow came earlier in the year – caused by COVID-19 and restaurant shutdowns; the second came from Mother Nature with arid weather during the summer months.

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British planted potato area one of the lowest on record

According to AHDB figures released yesterday, the 2020 GB planted potato area is one of the lowest on record seeing a 2.3% year-on-year drop. In a news report, AHDB says the total 2020 planted GB area (revised estimate) is 117.47Kha. This updated estimate indicates a drop in planted area of 2.3% compared to last year and represents the GB area covered by over 90% of producers. This puts the planted area for 2020 as the third smallest on record, behind only 2016 and 2017. The driving force behind the drop is mainly the processing sector, but also the fresh bags sector with a combined reduction of 4.1Kha.

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British potato farmer stars in new ‘Map my McDonald’s’ campaign

A Suffolk farmer is at the forefront of a promotional campaign by fast food giant McDonald’s highlighting its commitment to UK produce. Andrew Francis, who runs the farm operation at the Earl of Iveagh’s Elveden Estate near Thetford and supplies the chain with potatoes – features in a new Map My McDonald’s interactive tool which allows customers to see some of its army of 23,000 British and Irish farmer suppliers.

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Red River Valley expects nice potato crop

“The weather has been perfect since the heavy rains fell in late June,” Ted Kreis said in mid-September. “I think we’ll have a nice crop.” Tad Thompson reports in an article published by The Produce News, that Kreis, who is the marketing director of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, added that in the Red River Valley, “the crop is coming along very well. We had some losses in late June with heavy rain. We thought we lost 10- to 15-percent of the crop at that time. We have possibly recovered some of that through plant recovery and higher yields. So overall, it looks like an average-sized crop,” he said.

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Ireland: Potato crop yields well below average

According to this week’s Potato Market Update from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), although weather conditions have improved, growers are facing additional setbacks due to reduced yields and skin set issues. Reports from growers suggest that main-crop yields are well below average this year. Poor skin set appears to be a problem for a lot of growers and some growers have halted liftings due to this problem.

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Postponed: World Potato Congress and Europatat events in Ireland postponed to 2022 due to pandemic crisis

Due to the pandemic and for the safety of participants, it is with great reluctance that the three organisations World Potato Congress Inc., Europatat and the Irish Potato Federation, jointly announce today the postponement of the World Potato Congress (WPC) and the Europatat Congress planned for May/June in Dublin in 2021. Originally scheduled for 31st May – 3rd June 2021, the WPC will now take place on 30th May – 2nd June 2022. As previously planned, the WPC will be preceded by the Europatat Congress – which will take place from 29th- 30th May 2022.

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Red hot potato market could spell trouble for farmers in India

Potato prices in India started rising in December 2019 due to the delay in harvesting the early rabi crop, according to an article by Samarendu Mohanty, Asia Regional Director of the International Potato Center (CIP). In a recent news article published on the CIP website, Mr Mohanty wtires that although prices fell a bit in February and March with the arrival of the new harvest, they have remained higher than average during the same period in previous years due to less area planted, lower yields and transportation issues.

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Study shows more US households are purchasing potatoes

Fresh potato sales increased significantly from July 2019 through June 2020, and so did the number of households buying potatoes, according to a news release issued by Potatoes USA. The organization says eighty-eight percent of households purchased potatoes on an average of 10 times during the 52-week period. This was a significant increase for fresh potatoes, which are already a staple item in households. During 2019, consumers purchased fresh potatoes, on average, seven times in 83% of households. Potatoes continued to be bought most often with bread, milk, eggs, onions, and other staple household items.

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High temperatures stall Canada’s Ontario potato harvest

Ontario’s potato harvest was progressing well, but had to stop over the past few days of the past week as temperatures rose above optimal harvest levels, according to Ontario’s potato specialist Eugenia Banks’ latest update. According to potato grower Joe Lach, there are a lot of odd-shaped potatoes and internal problems in the late crop. Grade out is high too. This is the result of a hot, dry summer, or as Lach put it “the wrath of nature.”

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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