Scotland’s staple crops, including potatoes and raspberries, face challenges due to increasing global temperatures. To address this, scientists are harnessing the power of genomics, building on advances from the 2000 plant DNA sequencing breakthrough. The “phenomic revolution,” led by the James Hutton Institute, employs cutting-edge technology to study crops’ genetic responses to environmental changes, paving the way for a resilient agricultural future amidst the climate crisis.
On-farm sustainability reporting: Syngenta, Potato Sustainability Alliance to support growers, processors
Syngenta Canada has partnered with the Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA) to enhance on-farm sustainability in potato production using Syngenta’s SOA standard and Cropwise Sustainability app. The collaboration aims to provide over 550 North American potato growers with actionable sustainability insights. After thorough evaluation, PSA chose Syngenta’s app as their self-assessment tool. The initiative supports growers in meeting sustainability reporting needs and industry requirements.
World Potato Congress celebrates and highlights potato production breakthroughs in several countries
The World Potato Congress (WPC) highlights global potato industry successes on its website. For example, In Kenya, the potato sector is evolving with increased mechanization, leading to higher yields and reduced losses. In Uganda’s Zombo District, collaborative efforts have introduced advanced agricultural practices, benefiting small-scale farmers. These stories along with others from countries like Ethiopia, the Philippines and Yemen, underscore the importance of collaboration, innovation, and knowledge-sharing in the potato industry.
NEPG raises alarm on falling potato prices: Challenges and hopes in Northwestern Europe’s agriculture
Northwestern Europe’s potato prices have sharply declined, causing concern among growers. The Northwest European Potato Growers (NEPG) highlights that the drop is due to increased contracted volumes and a rise in non-storable potatoes. While the market shows low demand, the NEPG advises growers to remain cautious and emphasizes the long-term market’s strength. They stress the importance of storage and urge stakeholders to ensure a conducive environment for future cultivation.
McCain Foods has launched a podcast, “Hot Potato,” focusing on regenerative agriculture and its role in tackling climate change and reshaping the food industry. The series aims to clarify sustainable farming’s complexities and highlight its importance in addressing climate-related challenges. Max Koeune, CEO of McCain Foods, praised the initiative and its diverse guests. The inaugural episode, “Can we farm without harm?”, discusses the impact of industrial agriculture on climate, biodiversity, and soil health, emphasizing the need for sustainable farming methods.
In 2022, the Northwestern U.S. witnessed a surge in potato sales, according to a report by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NAAS). Idaho’s sales rose by 35% to $1.41 billion, while Oregon and Washington saw increases of 12% and 33%, respectively. Although Idaho and Oregon’s potato production decreased by 9% and 2%, Washington’s grew by 4%. Collectively, these states contributed 61% to U.S. potato production. However, overall potato processing across eight states dipped by 1%.
The global frozen potato market is projected to reach $92.63 billion by 2030, up from $65.06 billion in 2022, according to The Insight Partners. This surge is driven by the growing demand for ready-to-eat foods and the popularity of convenience items. Key industry players are expanding through mergers and innovative product launches. The rising number of dual-income families and single households further fuels the demand for frozen potato products.
In Ireland, potato home consumption and retail sales have stabilized due to colder weather, as per the Irish Farmers Association. New season Rooster potatoes are entering the market, but harvesting is tough due to late planting effects. In the UK, maincrop buyers aim to revert prices to contract levels, with more growers storing crops. France’s crop yield is predicted to be slightly below the decade’s average, with potential tight supplies in Europe due to increased demand.
Global fertilizer crisis spurs shift to sustainable farming solutions, humates getting more attention from American farmers
The global agricultural industry faces challenges from rising fertilizer prices, influenced by the Ukraine conflict, energy costs, and trade policies. A World Bank report noted a 66% increase in fertilizer prices since 2021. This crisis highlights the need for regenerative agriculture, focusing on soil health. Live Earth Products, a Utah-based company, promotes sustainable farming with products like humic and fulvic acid. Their solutions aim to reduce reliance on fertilizers, ensuring crop quality.
In 2022, Alberta’s potato industry showcased unprecedented growth, contributing $2.87 billion to Canada’s economy. Representing 150 growers, the Potato Growers of Alberta highlighted the industry’s expansion potential. With Alberta accounting for 60% of Canada’s net international seed potato exports, the region’s high-quality production and collaboration among stakeholders have positioned it as a dominant force in the potato market. The future looks promising for Alberta’s potato sector.
Precision AI, a leading agricultural startup, has introduced an AI-powered crop-spraying drone to combat the growing weed issue intensified by climate change. This innovative drone reduces chemical usage by up to 90%, offering a sustainable solution to weed management. This development signifies a major advancement in eco-friendly farming, blending technology and sustainability to address environmental concerns in agriculture.
The National Potato Council’s ‘Spud Nation Report’, published earlier this year, provides a detailed overview of the US potato industry. It highlights a rising demand for potatoes, with sales reaching $4.8 billion in 2022. The report discusses production trends, export-import dynamics, changing consumer preferences towards organic and non-GMO potatoes, sustainability efforts, technological advancements in food safety, marketing strategies, policy implications, labor challenges, and research initiatives.
Climate change resilience and early potato dying were the main topics at the Elora Potato Research Open House held on August 23 in Canada’s Ontario province. Vanessa Currie from the University of Guelph highlighted a five-year research study, initiated this year, focusing on potato varieties that can withstand increasing climate pressures. The annual event allows growers and buyers to preview potato varieties under testing and those that might be available in the future.
At the 2023 Potato Business Summit earlier this year, Kim Breshears of Potatoes USA highlighted the enduring popularity of potatoes in America. Studies show potatoes as the top vegetable for five consecutive years. While 40% of the U.S. potato crop goes to retail and food service each, 20% is exported. Despite a brief pandemic-induced dip, food service sales are rebounding, indicating a robust future for the potato industry. The data presented by Kim Breshears underscores the unwavering popularity of potatoes in the U.S. market.
Unseasonal heatwaves in Ireland and the UK have temporarily dampened the potato market. While Ireland sees a recovery with a rising demand for Kerr Pinks, known for their excellent eating quality, yields remain inconsistent. Early crops in Ireland fare better than the later ones. The UK market faces pricing pressures due to the weather. In Europe, seed availability might influence next season’s planting. Despite current price pressures, demand from Poland, Spain, and Italy is anticipated to grow as the season advances.
Major food companies, including General Mills, Kellogg’s, and Unilever are partnering with farmers to promote regenerative agriculture, which improves soil health, increases crop yields, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Practices like no-till farming, cover crops, and organic amendments help build soil health and sequester carbon.
Agritechnica 2023, set for 12-18 November, will spotlight the rise of autonomous fieldwork in agriculture. The event will explore the transition to driverless machines, the blurred lines between autonomous and automated systems, and the role of AI in enhancing robot capabilities. The expo promises a deep dive into the future of farming, showcasing innovations from manufacturers, startups, and academic institutions.
Despite facing challenging weather and late planting, the 2023 potato production shows promise. The North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) predicts a harvest of 23 million tonnes, surpassing 2022’s yield and matching 2021’s. However, late blight poses significant threats in certain regions and tuber blight, will is expected to affect net production. With increased processing needs and promising export prospects, Europe’s potato market remains resilient.
Unseasonably high temperatures in Ireland this week are expected to slightly affect potato consumption, but the return to normal routines with schools reopening should help balance it out. New season Rooster potatoes are entering the market, with prices ranging from €600 to €650 per tonne. European potato yields remain average, though challenges like late plantings and low tuber numbers persist. In the UK, lower potato prices are reported as growers prepare for the storage season amid stable chip shop demand.
Dyson Farming and Bangor University embark on a sustainable potato journey: Introducing the TRIP Project
Dyson Farming and Bangor University in the UK have launched an ambitious project named TRIP (Transforming Intensive Potato production). The collaboration aims to revolutionize potato farming using sustainable practices, with a focus on reducing water usage while maintaining quality and yield. Supported by Innovate UK, this initiative combines academic expertise and practical knowledge to tackle environmental issues in agriculture, promising a more sustainable future for the sector.
In a major boost to Idaho’s potato industry, Lamb Weston is investing $415 million to expand its American Falls facility. The project aims to increase the plant’s french fry production by 40%, making it one of the world’s largest frozen potato processors. Slated for completion by mid-2024, the expansion will add 12,000 acres of potato farmland in Idaho and create approximately 280 new jobs, reinforcing the state’s leading role in the global potato market.
The global potato snacks market is booming, valued at $92.31 billion in 2023 and expected to grow at a 3.1% CAGR to $125.04 billion by 2033, according to Persistence Market Research. Factors such as rising disposable incomes, increasing population, and urbanization are driving this growth. The market is also influenced by trends like demand for flavored and organic snacks, and innovative packaging. Potato snacks, including chips and fries, have become a staple in global snacking culture.
A consortium in the Pacific Northwest, led by Oregon State University, has received a $50 million grant for a five-year project to make potato farming more eco-friendly. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the initiative aims to reduce carbon emissions and improve soil health through innovative farming methods. Native American tribes, including the Nez Perce Tribe, are also participating.