Varieties

Second growth: A physiological potato problem induced by heat and drought

Second growth is a physiological potato problem induced by prolonged air temperatures above 280C and water stress, according to Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist working in Ontario, Canada. These 2 factors interact to limit the tuber growth rate, thus causing second growth. Inadequate soil moisture alone does not result in the initiation of second growth.

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Canada: Alberta potato farmers optimistic for harvest after pandemic soiled supply lines

Alberta potato growers are banking on a healthy harvest after COVID-19 decimated their supply system this spring. Terrence Hochstein, executive director of Potato Growers of Alberta, said the pandemic has cost seed potato farmers in the province between $4.5 million and $5 million in lost revenue. Alberta’s processing industry in terms of french fry production has decreased about 20 per cent this season compared to last, or approximately 7,500 acres.

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Research breakthrough: Fast-maturing, resilient potatoes in Hutton researchers’ sights

New research by James Hutton Institute plant scientists has found that a specific protein encoded by the potato genome is a key component of tuberisation – the process by which the potato plant initiates and develops tubers. It is hoped that the genetic discovery will be harnessed by potato breeders to develop fast-maturing, more resilient potato varieties that will safeguard production in an era of climate change, work that is being taken forward with industry partners.

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‘From ridge to bed’ – The next step in HZPC’s potato innovation

Increasing food security in areas that are hard to access. This is one of the ideas behind an important potato innovation by HZPC: hybrid potato breeding. This innovation has been under development for many years. And now it’s time for the next step. Seed potatoes from hybrid potatoes grow successfully on the well-known ‘ridges’ and now also in so-called ‘beds’. Flower bulbs are grown in this type of bed too.

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Breeders Trust invests in potato variety recognition using Geo4A satellite technology

The Brussels-based Breeders Trust today signed a major contract with Geo4A, a subsidiary of the Austrian company GeoVille. GeoVille specialises in the data processing of satellite images and is a leader in the field within Western Europe. The idea behind Breeders Trust is that together breeders can act more forcefully against unfair production and commercial practices adopted by the often globally operating rogue companies that discredit the entire sector.

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Simplot requests extension of deregulation of GMO potato: APHIS invites public comment

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comment on a request from J.R. Simplot Company to extend deregulation to a potato variety, designated as Snowden Z6. The request was made today. APHIS is interested in receiving comments regarding potential environmental and interrelated economic impacts as it relates to the National Environmental Policy Act

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Late blight resistant potatoes in Uganda promise impressive returns

Potato is a popular crop in Uganda with great potential for income generation and improving nutrition. So much so that the Ugandan government has declared potato a key crop for the country. In Uganda, International Potato Center (CIP) partners with the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) to release and promote improved varieties of potato and sweetpotato. NARO and CIP have developed a new version of the Victoria variety by adding three resistance genes (3R). The 3R Victoria potatoes are completely resistant to late blight.

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What is the value of using crop wild relatives in potato breeding?

It may surprise you to learn that wild potatoes grow like weeds in South America. While farmers in the United States battle weeds like pigweed and lamb’s quarters, farmers in the Andes Mountains have to keep weedy potatoes in check. There are over 100 wild potato species and breeders have just scratched the surface for new variety development. As climate change and a growing population put additional strains on potato growers, we will continue to explore the possibilities offered by this rich genetic resource.

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Contributions needed to bring new late blight resistant potato variety to smallholder farmers’ fields in East Africa

The 2Blades Foundation, a non-profit research organization based in the Chicago area, is a principal sponsor of a research project that recently completed the development of a potato variety that is completely resistant to late-blight. 2Blades is seeking contributions to help bring this disease-resistant potato variety to market and fight hunger in East Africa.

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PVMI: Working to develop the ‘perfect’ russet potato

Always working to develop the “perfect” russet, the Potato Variety Management Institute’s main mission is to promote new varieties of potatoes in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and beyond. PVMI Executive Director Jeanne Debons says it’s what they coordinate from their operation based in Bend, Oregon

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Unique robot helps HZPC in the fight against diseases

HZPC is employing the services of a specialised robot in its fight against potato diseases and viruses within its breeding programme. In combination with marker technology, this supports the quicker development of resistant potato varieties so that lower levels of pesticides are required and crop losses are kept to a minimum. According to the Dutch potato company, disease resistant varieties are an important step towards worldwide food security and sustainable potato growing.

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In memoriam: Potato industry veteran Dr Joe Pavek passed away

It is with great sadness that we report today that Dr. Joseph John Pavek (92) died from age related causes and a broken heart on May 24, 2020. Helost the love of his life, Sylvia, just 50 days earlier and after 62 years of marriage. Joe was a longtime friend of potato farmers and industry, serving as a potato breeder for the USDA at the Univ. of Idaho Res & Ext Center in Aberdeen, ID, working for 34 years (1965-1999). Joe developed new potato varieties with colleagues. Five of the top ten US potato varieties were created by Joe.

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Perfecting the potato chip

Each time a bag of potato chips is opened in the United States, there is a one in four chance that it’s filled with Michigan-grown potatoes. Michigan is the largest producer of potatoes grown for the potato chip industry in the US, A concerted effort made by industry stakeholders, spearheaded by Michigan State University Extension and MSU AgBioResearch, and coordinated by the Michigan Potato Industry Commission, has built a partnership that is growing the industry.

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Cornish new potatoes flourishing after wet start

Growers of Cornish new potatoes said their crops are now flourishing after a miserable start to the year. FG Pryor is currently harvesting in the fields around Penzance, lifting the fluffy-skinned Cornish new potatoes: initially destined only for Cornwall, but shortly to be available nationwide. Colwyn Farm has been run by the Pryor family since the late 1800’s. Philip Pryor says: “I want to hand the land over to the next generation in the same or better state than it was handed to me.”

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Robert Graveland, HZPC: ‘Europe is not adding value to its variety innovations’

“Improving potato varieties is our company’s core business,” says Robert Graveland, HZPC’s Research Director. “We noticed we have not yet used many genetic variants. There is still a lot of potential in this.” To use this potential, speed and control are crucial, says Robert. One way to speed up the process is to use gene-adaptation, for example, CRISPR-CAS. That can, for instance, create resistance or make a variety salt or heat tolerant. Some laws in Europe define gene-editing legally as GMO, though.

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CIP and HZPC collaborate to develop new potato varieties suitable for Southeast Asia

This project builds on ongoing work by the International Potato Center (CIP) developing early-maturing potato varieties that are tolerant to high temperatures and resistant to major virus diseases, thus suitable for growing in tropical climates.In close collaboration with the Netherlands-based global potato seed company HZPC, this project is developing early-maturing varieties with good characteristics for cooking and processing that would be suitable for the local environmental conditions. Five advanced clone candidate varieties will be cultivated and evaluated at high and low altitudes in Vietnam.

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HZPC invests in connections with growers

Great news for HZPC’s seed potato growers in the European Union: HZPC Holding is starting its “Connecting Growers” programme this year, which will reporting in handing out share certificates, according to the company. HZPC says it wants to remain an organisation run for and by growers. To this end, it is investing in connections with its growers.

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New protocols for N applications in potatoes

A new protocol for estimating the determinacy – how crops utilise fertilisers – of potato varieties will be released in the next few months and will be added to the AHDB’s Nutrient Management Guide (RB209). This should help breeders and those involved in variety development, save time and money when producing nitrogen recommendations for new varieties. From this, growers and agronomists will gain more accurate nitrogen/determinacy groupings for both new and existing cultivars, and thus fine-tune the N rates applied to crops.

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Idaho potato researcher ends career with one more new variety

Jeff Stark’s retirement plans would just have to wait. With only two and a half weeks until his retirement, Stark was busy completing all the necessary paperwork for the release of the Galena Russet, a new potato variety. Stark had been the director of the University of Idaho’s Potato Variety Development Program since 2006 and he estimated that the Galena Russet potato variety was the 22nd or 23rd variety released during that time.

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Grampian Growers releases video to tell the story of its Gemson baby potato variety

Grampian Growers is a farmer owned cooperative based on the East coast of Scotland on the outskirts of Montrose, Angus. The cooperative is one of the UK’s leading growers, suppliers and distributors of seed potatoes. Grampian recently released a short video about its Gemson baby potato variety. Grampian says on its website that Gemson has gone from strength to strength in the expanding baby potato sector since its commercial release in 2007. Gemson is renowned for producing exceptional small, white, round and bright tubers, perfect for the packing industry.

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The Quikgro initiative: Developing resilient potato varieties suited for East Africa

Scientists of the James Hutton Institute, in collaboration with the University of St Andrews, are supporting a research project aimed at delivering food security and health for East Africa. The Quikgro initiative, which aims to develop potato varieties suited to the agronomic and environmental conditions of the region, is a key component of the project and will hopefully result in economic and social benefits for smallholder farmers.

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The ‘caviar’ of potatoes: These are the world’s priciest potatoes

How much would you realistically pay for a pound of potatoes? A few dollars? Well, you won’t believe how much these expensive spuds once fetched at auction. These artisanal vegetables are grown in sandy soil fertilized by seaweed on an island off the Atlantic coast of France. They’re so delicate they must be harvested by hand, and they’re only available 10 days a year. These are the Bonnottes de Noirmoutier, and they are one of a kind. Watch a video.

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Branston hopes for purple patch for Violet Queen potato variety

Branston, potato supplier based in the UK, is asking shoppers whether they want to see its new Violet Queen variety become a mainstay of the potato aisles as part of its launch of the eye-catching purple variety, Fruitnet reports. Violet Queen is being launched into selected Tesco stores for a limited time from this month, having been developed for its unusual colour and rich texture.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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