Weather/Climate

British potato and onion grower hit by eye-watering rises in storage costs

A Suffolk potato and onion grower is facing eye-watering costs to dry and store his harvested vegetables over winter. Woodbridge farmer James Foskett says potato storage costs will see big increases from about £30/t to £80-90/t for these. “So, the energy charges will really start to bite,” he says. “There’s slightly less energy used in storing potatoes and we don’t store them as long,” he says. Most will go in January to February.

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Study to determine impact of wildfire smoke on Idaho potato crops, seeks to identify smoke-resilient varieties

A two-year study by Boise State University and University of Idaho probes how wildfire smoke affects potato crops and seeks to identify smoke-resilient potato varieties. “Observations from industry started all of this. When we have had bad, smoky years, yields are down and processing quality is down. Our hypothesis is smoke exposure causes that,” said Mike Thornton, a professor in U of I’s Department of Plant Sciences.

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Met Éireann: Potato blight warning in place until next week

Met Éireann has said that a Status Yellow warning for potato blight is set to remain in place for Ireland until next week. The national forecaster noted that weather conditions conducive to the spread of the disease will remain across many parts of Ireland through to Tuesday (September 13).

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Heat stress hits British potato yields

British potato crops have paid a heavy penalty as a result of this summer’s record-breaking temperatures and drought. First digs from this year’s Quantis heat-stress biostimulant field trials suggest yields may be over 30% lower in untreated crops. The total tuber numbers in marketable size grades have been on average 34% greater in the treated areas, reported Syngenta Technical Manager, Andy Cunningham.

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The new normal? How Europe is being hit by a climate-driven drought crisis

Europe’s most severe drought in decades is hitting homes, factories, farmers and freight across the continent, as experts warn drier winters and searing summers fueled by global heating mean water shortages will most likely become “the new normal,” as Jon Henley and Guardian correspondents report in this news article.

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Drought will mean poor quality potato crop and financial losses, British farmers say

The drought that has been declared for parts of England will result in a poor quality potato crop and significant financial losses, farmers have said, according to a news report by Claudia Rowan for the Independent. She reports that one livestock farmer said the dry conditions will lead to “inevitable” shortages, while a potato farmer said his crops are dying in front of him “every day now”.

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‘We need rain’: Mexican farmers ravaged by northern drought

Just 10% of Mexico’s dams are now full, with many seeing levels drop below half or lower, according to official data, as Jose Luis Gonzalez reports for Reuters. July was the second hottest month in Mexico since 1953. Rivers have dried up to reveal cracked beds. Fields that should be teeming are bare. The earth is so dry that young crops are wilting. Surviving cattle are bony, their ribs protruding.

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‘Very scary’: European agriculture hit hard by climate change and drought

With Europe suffering through an extreme drought worsened by climate change that has dried up rivers and left millions sweltering in triple-digit heat this summer, farmers across the continent are sounding warnings about crop losses, as Melissa Rossi reports for Yahoo News. Nearly two-thirds of the territory in the 27-country European Union is either dealing with drought or is poised to enter one.

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Potato specialist: ‘Keep an eye out for signs of heat stress in your potato crops’

Potatoes can suffer from heat stress when temperatures rise. Heat stress severity depends on 1) how hot it gets, 2) the rate of temperature increase, 3) duration of extreme temperatures, and 4) water status of the crop and soil. Temperatures, at least 10°F above normal, that spike suddenly and last a long time under drought conditions, are the worst-case scenario, writes Associate Professor/Regional Specialist at Washington State University, Carrie Huffman Wohleb, in this article.

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Supporting regenerative practices: McDonald’s Canada and McCain Foods partner to launch ‘Future of Potato Farming Fund’

Today, McDonald’s Canada and McCain Foods Limited announce a new partnership to create the ‘Future of Potato Farming Fund’ by investing $1M in education, demonstration, and cost-sharing grants to support potato farmer adoption of regenerative practices and technology. The new Fund’s goals are building soil health and farm resilience as Canadian potato farmers face the escalating impacts of climate change on yield and crop quality.

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Droughts in Europe: Almost half of the EU and UK territory at risk

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre recently published the “Drought in Europe – July 2022” report, an assessment of Europe’s drought situation based on the European Drought Observatory. The analysis of the evolution and impact of the prolonged drought in the EU shows that a staggering portion of Europe is currently exposed to warning (44% of EU+UK) and alert (9% of EU+UK) drought levels.

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France forms crisis unit to face ‘worst drought on record’

The French government activated a crisis unit to deal with the worst drought on record, and warned conditions could get worse, as Samy Adghirni reports for Bloomberg. “This drought is the worst ever recorded in our country,” the office of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said Friday.

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Idaho potato crop catching up after cold start

Idaho’s potato crop has caught up well after wet, cold weather during planting and emergence seasons delayed its start. As Brad Carlson reports for Capital Press, Declo-area grower Mark Darrington liked what he saw during recent test digs: tubers, in contrast to the “big crop of vines” of one variety that produced poorly in last year’s drought and early, prolonged high heat.

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UK: Driest growing season in more than 40 years causes ‘disastrous’ potato harvest in Spalding

A Spalding farmer in the UK has told how his potato crop has grown at half the normal size and number as a result of the driest growing season in more than 40 years. As David Bosworth reports for The Lincolnite, the East of England provides vegetables for the nation, but Andrew Branton says this year’s harvest is nothing less than a disaster. “There’s just no way that crops in the UK can cope with the climate we’ve had this year – lack of water, intense temperatures – you just can’t reverse this process.”

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‘Earth Overshoot Day’: Mankind has already used up its resources for the year 2022

We are just halfway through the year, and humanity has already used up all the resources the Earth can sustainably produce. From now on, we are borrowing from the future. For the rest of the year, mankind will be inflicting an unsustainable toll on the planet, according to the calculations for Earth Overshoot Day. At the current rate, humanity would need three-quarters of another planet to feed the current rate of resource use.

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IFA: Heat stopped maincrop growth in Ireland, dry and hot weather expected to continue in Europe

Consumption and sales of potatoes have picked up this week in Ireland as temperatures settle back to average levels, according to the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). High temperatures experienced last week stopped maincrop growth and this may delay harvest in the back end of the year. Across Europe, temperatures have reached 40°C in places last week, expected to continue into August.

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Heatwave could impact price of British potatoes

Hospitality venues could see a rise in the price of potatoes after last week’s heatwave potentially damaged the quality of some crop, a supplier has warned. As Jungmin Seo reports for The Caterer, Austen Dack, marketing manager of Isle of Ely Produce in Cambridgeshire, which supplies over two million bags of potatoes into fish and chip shops and restaurants, said the performance of later second earlies and true maincrop varieties of potato was “very much in the balance”.

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Heatwave: Home consumption and retail sales taking a hit in Ireland, UK and Europe struggling with increasing drought

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) says in its weekly potato market report that home consumption and retail sales have taken a hit over the past week in Ireland due to soaring temperatures. Countries in Europe are reporting a reduction in the planted acreage for 2022. Lack of rainfall is becoming an increasing problem in mainland Europe. In the U.K, maincrop varieties are now starting to show the effect of the very high temperatures.

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Heatwave to push up price of chips, say British potato farmers

The price of chips is set to increase after recent high temperatures ravaged crops, potato growers in Britain have warned. According to a BBC report, farmers said the heatwave had added to pressures caused by rising costs linked to the war in Ukraine. The British Potato Trade Association (BPTA) said the heatwave had compromised the “yield and quality” of potato crops.

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Stress factors could increase risk of early blight

Stress factors set to hit potato crops over the coming weeks could increase the risk of Alternaria (early blight) outbreaks, warns Syngenta Technical Manager in the UK, Andy Cunningham. Many British crops are still suffering the adverse effects of exceptionally low rainfall this spring, while the hugely inflated cost of fertiliser has seen potato growers cut back nutritional inputs to the bare minimum.

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World Environment Day, June 5: Earth ‘cannot keep up with our demands’, says UN chief

“This planet is our only home”, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for World Environment Day, marked this Sunday, warning that the Earth’s natural systems “cannot keep up with our demands”. “It is vital we safeguard the health of its atmosphere, the richness and diversity of life on Earth, its ecosystems and its finite resources.  But we are failing to do so,” said the UN chief.

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Colorado potato exports to Mexico poised to increase, but drought may create barriers

The day potato farmers in San Luis Valley had been waiting on for more than 25 years finally came as Mexico’s decades long limitation on Colorado-grown potatoes came to an end earlier this month, reports Marianne Goodland for The Gazette. But the degree to which the new agreement benefits the San Luis Valley remains a big question mark, in large part because of drought.

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Farm Credit Canada ready to work with customers affected by widespread flooding in Manitoba

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is prepared to work with Manitoba customers concerned about financial hardship due to the flooding caused by torrential rainfall, snowmelt and waterway ice jams. It has been an extremely challenging time for many producers across southern Manitoba, since many of the same areas also faced adverse growing conditions last year due to drought or a lack of moisture in some regions that reduced yields and created higher input and feed costs for livestock producers.

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