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.
In this episode of Potatoes USA’s “Keeping it Current” initiative, Kendra Keenan, Global Marketing Manager for Foodservice, talks about the shifts in foodservice and how chefs and operators from across the globe are finding potato inspiration for their menus and getting more creative to drive sales. Kendra also touches on the numerous marketing materials created for foodservice operators and where they can be accessed.
Earlier today, UPL Open Ag in the UK published a short video on Twitter in which UPL agronomist Don Pendergrast discusses potato storage issues with Adrian Briddon, storage specialist with Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research (SBCSR). SBCSR is the leading post-harvest applied research facility for agricultural storage in the UK. It is the primary independent centre providing potato storage research and advice to the GB industry.
This tractor sprayer that you will see in action in the video below was custom built by Terry Miller and Scott Anderson for Miller Research, based in Rupert, Idaho. The company says the sprayer “is great for applying chemical to our research plots. This video shows the many features of our spray tractors, as well as how we calibrate for our sprays.” The tractor can hold twelve tanks for twelve different treatments. Each slot has a magnet that agitates the product in the tank.
When COVID-19 closed down restaurants and hotels, potatoes headed toward food service had nowhere to go. It had a chain effect down to processors and growers, trapping 1.5 billion pounds of potatoes in the supply chain. While farmers across Idaho and Montana have given away millions of potatoes, they’ve also been forced to destroy millions more. Business Insider visited a potato seed farm in Sheridan, Montana, to understand the emotional and financial impact this has had on farmers Peggy and Bill Buyan
In this video by YouTube content creator, Martijn of the Trainspotter channel, followed planting activities on the arable farming operation L.B. van Nieuwenhuijzen. The operation is located on the island of Goeree Overflakkee in the Netherlands. Farm operators were planting potatoes with a brand new Fendt 940MT vario and 8-row Grimme GL860 planter. Preparing the soil was done using a Fendt 926 vario and a 4.5m wide tilling machine, and hilling was done with two Fendt 720’s with Grimme 4-row rotary hillers.
The Gamble is a 60-minute documentary that explores the personal stories of farm families and their heritage. Through the colorful and touching stories of those who have endured the evolution of the industry, we learn firsthand the true grit that it took to survive and prosper. Those working in the farming industry in general around the world, will be able to identify with much of what is recounted in this documentary. Well worth a watch.
Maleic Hydrazide (MH) is a potato sprout suppressant that was first identified as a plant growth regulator in the 1940’s. In an article published by AHDB Potatoes this week, it is said that the reduction in permitted treatments rate for CIPC have driven an increase in MH use in recent years. Interim data from AHDB at Sutton Bridge has shown that in the absence of CIPC, MH can offer good sprout control and boost efficacy of alternative treatments when used in combination with them.