A Prince Edward Island-based Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researcher, Dr. Bourlaye Fofana, grows 814 different genetic lines of potatoes in fields at AAFC’s Harrington Research Farm, all in pursuit of finding potatoes that are resistant to disease, drought and greening. Dr. Fofana is working to develop potato varieties that are resistant to common scab disease, making crops more plentiful and profitable and providing blemish-free produce for consumers around the world.
Carrie Huffman Wohleb writes in an article for Growing Produce that although it wasn’t an immediate success, the ‘Russet Burbank’ cultivar now accounts for about 40% of the U.S. potato acreage. It originates from a seed collected from an ‘Early Rose’ potato plant that Luther Burbank planted in 1872. Many decades later, a natural genetic mutant (a chimera) of the original Burbank with russet skin became the Russet Burbank we know today.
‘The Potato Field’ is an initiative of Spudman magazine in the US. In the latest episode, Ben and Alison Sklarczyk discuss the process of producing plants in their tissue culture lab and then greenhouse before they reach field seed potatoes in disease-free and sterile condition, as well as their recent expansion, trends in seed potatoes and balancing family with their demanding business.
The corona virus is forcing the potato variety companies to consider a different format for the traditional variety shows this year. A number of companies opted for an event online, others have decided to postpone the shows for a year. In this series on Akkerwijzer, the potato variety companies talk about their showpiece varieties and the challenges that accompany its development. In this article, Sheep Holland reflects on “the traditional breeding work that is under pressure.”
HZPC Americas Corporation is the North American seed potato partner of the HZPC group. The company is based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on Canada’s east coast. HZPC Americas Corporation has an extensive research and development program as well as localized testing locations, which allows HZPC to develop potatoes varieties with direct focus on North American markets. HZPC Americas Corporation recently announced two vacancies: Sales & Key Account Manager – Fresh, and Key Account Manager – Processing.
Last year, Green Thumb partnered with Hannaford to develop the Queen Anne potato. This year they’re partnering with Hannaford again to introduce Fenway Reds, a variety that’s new to Maine. Fenway Reds is a unique red potato; while many red varieties are oblong in shape, Fenway Reds are round and consistent. In fact, this variety is the roundest red potato ever grown at Green Thumb Farms.
Since last week, Agrico has been presenting its new varieties on its new online platform, agricopotatoes.com. This platform is also the next step in the digital transformation of the potato cooperative. Agrico has been organising a large and well-attended variety show in November for years now. Due to Covid-19, this meeting full of physical encounters was not an option this year. To maintain the moment of connection with its customers and to present its new varieties, the cooperative developed an online platform. Agrico has declared this season as the year of digital transformation.
Videogame technology will be used to help develop the perfect potato as part of a ground-breaking new project involving Abertay University and a major potato seed supplier, reports Richard Mason in a news story published by The National. The university, based in Dundee, has entered into a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Agrico UK Ltd, with the aim of utilising artificial intelligence to shorten what is normally a lengthy and complicated process, taking more than 10 years to breed a new potato variety.
In this edition of Spudman magazine’s new podcast series, Amanda and Braydon Wakasugi join Spudman editor Zeke Jennings to discuss their multi-farm San Acacio Seed potato partnership in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. They talk about irrigation challenges in the valley, the diverse soil conditions and why being highly isolated is a big benefit for seed growers.
In a two part series, Bob Larson spoke to PVMI Executive Director Jeanne Debons who told him that it’s what they coordinate from their operation based in Bend, Oregon. Says De Bons: “PVMI is a non-profit that represents the tri-state Potato Research and Breeding Program, and that’s a cooperative effort of Washington State University, the University of Idaho, Oregon State University, and the USDA.” Debons says those results vary widely with everything from fresh russets, to colored potatoes, and other specialty potatoes.
Caledonia Potatoes opened its doors this week to invite clients and potential clients along to a showcase of their seed potato varieties, reports Nichola McGregor for FreshPlaza. “This is a great chance to talk, and listen to our customers on a one to one basis. We do also attend tradeshows, which obviously this year is not possible, but having people here at the farm means we can spend more time with our customers,” Robert Doig, Director at Caledonia Potatoes told Nichola. Caledonia Potatoes was created in July this year after demerging from The Caithness Group.
Yale has a potato to call its own — two, in fact, and both varieties are already appearing in Yale dining halls, writes Brita Belli in a recent news article published by YaleNews. Through a partnership with Netherlands-based potato seed company HZPC, a Connecticut farm is growing special, nutrient-dense potatoes for the university that are tailor-made for the state’s climate and soil. The Jennifer potato, with its white skin and creamy texture, and the Maggie potato, with its yellow skin and buttery taste, are the first Yale-specific potatoes being grown from these seeds.
The outlook is good for high-quality crops of red and yellow potatoes from North Dakota and Minnesota, reports Sandy Lindblad Lee for Produce Business. Optimistic predictions for an excellent crop of consistent volume of Red River Valley potatoes is gratifying news for the multitude of buyers and consumers who look forward to these famous fresh spuds. This forecast is even more welcome following last season’s heavy losses in the Valley’s central and southern growing regions.
First successful True Potato Seed (TPS) trial of Solynta and Solidaridad in Mozambique shows potential
A first pilot using True Potato Seed (TPS) in Angonia District, Tete province in Mozambique, conducted by Solidaridad and Solynta shows great potential to drastically improve and innovate potato production in Mozambique. The potato crop is increasingly important for nutrition security and farmer livelihoods in Mozambique and many countries in Africa. Between August 2019 and April 2020 Solidaridad Mozambique and Solynta executed the first hybrid TPS field trial ever in Mozambique: growing potatoes from true seeds rather than traditional seed potatoes.
Potatoes are a widely-loved vegetable. Baked, mashed, fried or chipped, they are a tasty treat. But they aren’t perfect. Potatoes present a big challenge for the plant breeders who work on the crop, trying to develop new varieties that are more savory, sustainable, storable or growable. “Potato is the world’s leading vegetable crop, but it hasn’t realized the genetic gains needed to keep pace with industry and consumer demands,” says Jeff Endelman, UW–Madison associate professor in the horticulture department.
The potential of the potato has only just begun to be realized, writes Sandra Cordon in an article published by Landscape News. Sandra writes that some 368 million metric tons of potatoes were harvested globally in 2019, as people from Vietnam to Kenya, the Peruvian Andes to Rwanda produced a wide variety of the root vegetable, helping feed an estimated 1.3 billion people who rely on them as a staple food. In step, researchers around the world are hurrying to find ways to increase the quality and yield from potato production through targeted varieties better suited to local weather and soil conditions.
The 2019/2020 financial year has been eventful in many respects for HZPC, the company says in a press release issued earlier today. HZPC says that despite the consequences of COVID-19, the company has had an operationally successful season. The coming season, however, may well be more of a challenge, HZPC says. The potato breeder says it is on the cusp of a season which encompasses a huge, global economic recession.
For potato cooperative Agrico 2020/2021 is the season of its digital transformation. The first major milestone in this process is the new www.agrico.nl website that was launched last week. As well as growing innovative varieties, Agrico has worked hard on increasing the professionalism of its organisation in recent years. A vital component of this drive is the strategic plan Agrico 2030, entitled “Good Growth.” Agrico has defined a number of ambitious goals in this strategic plan. Modernising the IT environment and data-driven operation are key to achieving these goals.
Scientists in Kenya have reportedly developed potato varieties that are resistant to potato cyst nematodes (PCN) in what promises to change fortunes of farmers in the country and across Africa, according to a news report by Xinhua. The scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in a statement on Tuesday said besides resistance to PCN, the new varieties are early-maturing.
A pilot project that could improve food security in Canada’s North got the green light Monday, according to a report by CBC News. Jackie Milne, president of the Northern Farm Training Institute in Hay River, received $50,000 in funding from the government of the Northwest Territories to work with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists to identify the best potato seeds to produce potatoes in the North.
In this article, author Sangeeta Soni provides a list and brief description of 14 most commonly grown potato varieties in India. She writes that potatoes have been cultivated in the country for at least the past 300 years. Three of the varieties that Soni describes briefly in her article is Kufri Sindhuri, Kufri Chandramukhi, and Kufri Jyoti.
The ADAPT project aims at identifying new breeding targets and matching potato varieties to specific challenging environmental growth conditions of the future, according to a press release issued by the University of Vienna. The ADAPT consortium has successfully launched the project “Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato”, which aims at developing new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging growth conditions of the future. It will take place over the next four years with a total budget of 5 million Euro from the EU Horizon 2020 program.
Late processing varieties are reportedly lower than the multi-year average yields in Belgium, but processed products are said to be of excellent quality. This became clear during trial digs of the Fontane and Challenger varieties. According to a report by Nieuwe Oogst journalist Han Reindsen, samples were taken on 10 and 11 August to evaluate the yield and quality of Fontane and Challenger. The total yield is said to be lower, but fry quality is good.