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.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that Canada is expected to soon resume exporting Prince Edward Island (PEI) table stock potatoes into the contiguous United States. USDA says as a result of the U.S. and Canada reaching an understanding about the risk of table stock potato imports from PEI, Canada will lift its ban while APHIS plans to publish a federal order outlining additional required mitigations to protect the U.S. potato industry.
PepsiCo to recover water used in potato chip manufacturing, scale drip irrigation technology across 25,000 acres
This week PepsiCo Inc. announced several new innovations, investments and partnerships to progress against its ambition to be Net Water Positive by 2030. This includes developing a new technology to recover more than 50% of the water used in its potato chip manufacturing and to scale a groundbreaking drip irrigation technology across 25,000 acres.
Potato growers say that producers should be sharing their sustainability efforts and how they benefit consumers and the planet. According to a news report by RFD TV, the Potato Sustainability Alliance says that many people outside of agriculture do not know that farmers are already taking steps to be more sustainable. They are working on ways they can move sustainability forward for the potato industry.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, potato markets have been somewhat resistant with uncertainty expected for the coming recent weeks, North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) says in a news release earlier today. “Producers need to realize that, despite this very significant crisis, our European countries (and others around the world) will continue to need potatoes and potato products in the future,” NEPG says.
Potato growers in Scotland face the greatest uncertainty in years as input costs have rocketed but markets remain stagnant – so growing the crop this year will be a major ‘gamble’. Graham Twatt, Easter Cushnie, summed it up: “This is the most challenging time in farming we have ever seen.
Blair Richardson, CEO of Potatoes USA presented at the Grower Education Conference in Wisconsin. He said the potato industry, like so much of the rest of the economy, has changed considerably over the past two years due to the coronavirus. The sheer number of supply chain cost increases that growers will be facing this season will be daunting.
McCain Foods has scrapped its plan to open a potato processing plant in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. “We have now made the decision to discontinue the project entirely,” Charlie Angelakos, McCain’s vice-president of global external affairs and sustainability said to the CBC in an emailed statement. “In addition, we are also suspending all shipments of our products into the Russian market.”
McDonald’s Corp. is temporarily closing all 850 Russia locations, following mounting criticism that the fast-food chain failed to act quickly following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine, reports Leslie Patton for Bloomberg News. The company will continue paying its 62,000 employees in Russia, McDonald’s said in a letter Tuesday from Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski.
The European Potato Processors’ Association (EUPPA) released a special report highlighting progress made in recent years by the sector across key areas of environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The European potato processing industry welcomes the green ambitions and wants to play its part in the shift to greater sustainability.
‘DriftRadar’, an integrated drift management concept from Bayer, was awarded the “DLG-Agrifuture Concept Winner” by the DLG (German Agricultural Society) at this year’s Agritechnica event. With the new system, automatic field-specific drift control is possible, according to Bayer.
Canada’s Digital Technology Cluster: ‘Improving farmers efficiency, reducing emissions and driving to net zero’
Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster last week announced an investment in what it calls “the world’s first interactive, operational planning software for autonomous agriculture”. This project will create a digital twin of a users’ farm to support operational planning and decision-making.