This winter AHDB in the UK is running its Potato Soil Health Campaign – part of the Great Soils Programme. The goal of this campaign is to encourage potato growers to reconsider their current practice when it comes to soil health. You can now watch a re-recording of the AHDB hosted soil health webinar – ‘Potato Soil Health – Why bother?’ online. The webinar was hosted live by AHDB on 19 November.
In this video, Kerri Ann Lamb tells the story of her family’s potato-growing business at Wickham Farms, Killarney, Queensland in Australia. Kerri is fourth fourth generation potato farmer. Says Kerri: “Our potatoes are planted in October, so they’ll be ready to harvested in February. It will be harvested and sent to the pack house in February and they’ll be sold fresh n supermarkets as brushed potatoes as well.
It’s been a year since First Coast News started following a local farmer, sharing with you his successes and struggles. When they started this story, First Coast News had no idea the troubles farmers would face because of a pandemic. This is the final installment in this story, showing how the weather is an age-old challenge for farmers and how Covid is something new. With a thousand acres of potatoes, spuds are the main source of income for the Jones family in Florida.
On Nov. 12, the Idaho Potato Commission hosted its annual Big Idaho Potato Harvest Meeting, open to everyone in the Idaho potato industry. NPC CEO Kam Quarles provided an update on the federal policy victories and activities undertaken by the National Potato Council and its state potato organization partners in 2020, and set the stage for an active 2021. Kam Quarles began by saying that though 2020 isn’t over yet, looking back on it is almost like viewing two entirely separate worlds – “one is pre-Covid. and the other is the world that we’ve been dealing with since the shutdown started.”
This film follows the fortunes of several potato growers throughout Ireland and also gives a short history of the potato, a crop synonymous with Ireland. The producers look at the importance of potato growing in Ireland, showing how the humble spud stills plays a vital role here to this day. This documentary was produced by Thompson Video Productions Co. in Derry, Northern Ireland.
Entomologists at the University of Idaho are leading ten state research projects focused on two viruses that can devastate seed potato farmers, according to a report by RFD-TV. In an interview with RFD-TV, Professor and project leader, Alexander Karasev says that one of their targets is potato mop-top virus, which has been found in six states. According to Karasev, “The second virus is potato virus Y. It can lead to a downgrade of seed potato loads, but also, a potato [infected with potato virus Y] may induce a disease which is called potato tuber necrotic ringspot disease, making fresh market tubers completely unusable.”
Potato has good potential to help the world meet that challenge, since it produces more calories per liter of water than other major staple crops. Scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP) are trying to enhance that potential through the development of digital tools to optimize the use of water in irrigation. A team of researchers led by crop ecophysiologist David Ramírez has used a combination of conventional and thermal cameras to study how potato plants react to water stress. They also developed open-access software called Thermal Image Processor (TIPCIP) to analyze those images.
New trials run by Innovative Farmers Field lab and funded by AHDB in the UK will research the possibility of using brackish water for potato irrigation. Irrigation plays a vital role in potato quality. Growers in areas such as Holbeach Marsh, one of the driest regions in the UK, are facing considerable economic yield losses due to common scab. Under future climate projections AHDB and Innovative Farmers anticipate more unpredictability in rainfall events, increased saline intrusion of groundwater reserves and therefore a more vulnerable freshwater supply, which could impact on potato yields in the area.
The outlook for the Idaho potato season was very promising at the beginning of the year. Then, in the middle of March, with the impact of the Corona virus becoming aparant here in the US and globally, everything changed. “It was fantastic,” says Idaho potato grower Randy Hardy. “Until the virus hit, I was telling people I’ve been farming for 48 years waiting for a year like this, because it was kind of like a perfect storm, you know? It looked like it was going to be a good marketing year…” But then the pandemic put an end to all of this. Bill Schaefer in Idaho produced a video in which the owners and managers of four prominent Idaho potato operations discuss the economic impact of Covid-19.
On the 175th anniversary of the start of the Great Hunger, also sometimes referred to as “the Irish Famine,” the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), the largest and oldest Irish Catholic organization in the US, has released a video commemorating this sad event and noting it’s particular relevance against the backdrop of today’s COVID-19 crisis. September 13, 1845 is considered the precursor of An Gorta Mor, the “Great Hunger.” Over the next five years, Ireland would lose a quarter of its population, over two million people, to death and starvation.
In a recently released YouTube video, GRIMME showcases the development of its Ventor 4150 potato harvester – from design to the final commercial end product. According to GRIMME, the VENTOR 4150 is the first 4-row self-propelled harvester based on the SE-principle (sieving, conveying and haulm separation). The powerful 530 HP machine with its 15 tonne unloading bunker is the first harvester to be fitted with the SE system, which increases productivity significantly when compared to a 2 row harvester.
AHDB has published its 19 August webinar regarding potato desiccation online as a YouTube video. I shows pictures and video clips of commercial potato crops during haul destruction. It also contains tips and guidance from leading researchers on how to apply desiccants, and use mechanical alternatives to diquat for desiccation of potato crops. Trial results and observations from research into how to desiccate seed potato and ware potato crops without diquat are in the spotlight as well in the video.
McDonald’s has unveiled a new global flagship restaurant that is aiming for the “ultimate efficiency” in energy usage and performance. The chain said that the “first-of-its-kind” site in Orlando, Florida will generates all its own power to run its entire kitchen and restaurant operation from renewable energy. The construction of the restaurant means it can create enough renewable energy on-site to cover 100% of its energy needs on a net annual basis. McDonald’s will also use the flagship as a learning hub to test solutions for reducing energy and water use in future.
Idaho’s potato season was promising at the beginning of the year. The Idaho Farm Bureau shows how the coronavirus pandemic changed everything. In a video interview with RFDTV, Randy Hardy with Hardy Farms says: “It was fantastic, clear up until the virus hit. I was telling people I farmed for 48 years waiting for a year like this because it was the perfect storm. …When the country shut down and COVID protocols were set in place, the market and consumer demand shifted….” Grower Merrill Hanny of Hanny Farms in Shelley is also interviewed.
Three storage webinars hosted by AHDB in the UK in June were an opportunity for British growers and store managers to hear from the team of storage experts at Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research, as well as cleaning and agronomy specialists. To complement the webinar sessions AHDB answered some frequently asked questions around key topics of potato storage post CIPC in a news release issued today.
Folks, the videos below might not be potato related as such, but still really worth watching if you are in agriculture and interested in what’s happening in the technology developments in our industry…
Potato is the second most consumed crop in Kenya after maize. However, majority of the farmers still struggle to access quality clean seed and this has always led to reduced productivity. Using rooted apical cuttings introduced through USAID’s Feed the Future Accelerated Value Chain Development Program (AVCD) is changing this. Cuttings are similar to nursery grown seedlings. They are produced from tissue culture plantlets in a screenhouse and are clean and free from disease.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, McCain Foods stepped in to help potato growers by releasing a video encouraging Canadians to eat more french fries, titled ‘French Fries Feed Farmers’. Despite the Canadian government’s relief programs, McCain Foods stated in a release that “the private sector has an important role to play.” The company put several initiatives in place “to show its deep-rooted commitment” to its 130 potato growers across Canada. The campaign is a 38-second video designed for social media highlighting one main message: Eat more fries, Canadians!
The University of Idaho and the Idaho Potato Commission have produced a series of short videos in which growers will find hints and tips on how to minimize bruising of potato tubers throughout the production process and when moving potatoes into marketing channels. These videos were recently uploaded by Bill Schaeffer to his YouTube channel.
Listen during this upcoming AHDB Potatoes webinar tomorrow (9 July) to what potato growers are planning across the AHDB strategic farm network. Through the week folks will have learnt about markets, research and commercial innovation – this session will discuss how this is being applied in the field and what growers can do to progress. Eric Anderson will offer an agronomist’s perspective on how we can build better strategies towards PCN management and the latest views on alternative approaches to virus control.
AHDB Potatoes in the UK hosted a webinar with on these topics yesterday, the 7th of July. Participating presentations by Dr Bill Watts, Dr Marc Allison, Andrew Webster, Prof Ian Toth, Dr Jane Thomas and Dr Andy Evans.
Potato rowers can tune in to hear about all the latest in potato research through a series of webinars from the AHDB in the UK, Running from July 6 until the 9th, AHDB has put together a virtual ‘Potato Showcase Week’ highlighting the results of the on-farm trials taking place at its Strategic Potato Farms across the UK, as well as a series of webinars on industry-related topics ranging from agronomic management to future solutions and market dynamics.
Premier Scott Moe announced a $4-billion irrigation project that will irrigate 500,000 acres of land from Lake Diefenbaker and double the irrigable land in Saskatchewan. Stephanie Gordon of Potatoes in Canada reports. The project is beginning with an immediate $22.5 million investment in preliminary engineering and initial construction. Water is critical to potato production, and expanding irrigation capacity in Saskatchewan will broaden the crop options for producers.