Weather/Climate

Frost causes severe damage to early potato crops in Ireland

Sub-zero conditions have caused severe damage to potato haulms in some areas around Ireland. Nighttime temperatures this week dipped to -2.5°C in some areas, resulting in localised ground frost. Temperatures in Katesbridge, Northern Ireland, reached -6°C on 13 May. Reports came through on Friday morning from growers around the country of damage to early and early-main crop potatoes. Damage to emerged foliage ranges from mild to severe. Crops planted on low-lying land appear to have been worst affected.

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Rain decimates Tasmanian potato crop; processors fear European spuds will be dumped on Aussie market

Tasmanian potato growers, who produce the bulk of Australia’s French fries, are having a disastrous harvest. Months of wet weather is making it impossible to get onto paddocks in parts of the state. Processors Simplot and McCain Foods told the ABC they expect to lose 10 per cent of their entire crop this year. At the same time, processors fear a glut of European potatoes, caused by the shutdown of the food service sector, will be dumped on the Australian market.

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Potato crop in danger after months of extreme weather in Northern Ireland

Rain is urgently needed to save this season’s local potato crop, an industry figure has warned. Stuart Meredith, an agronomist with Wilson’s Country potato firm, said a particularly wet autumn, followed by one of the driest springs on record, had caused severe problems that had led to eight months of “absolute extremes for growers”. The east of Northern Ireland has been worst affected by the lack of rain.

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CIP researchers designed a smartphone app for potato irrigation monitoring

Recent research by scientists and students from CIP and the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, in Peru, confirmed that images from infrared (a.k.a. thermographic) cameras can be used to detect water stress in potato crops, and thereby guide more efficient water use. CIP scientists recently developed a new, more user-friendly version of TIPCIP for the smartphones.

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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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Potato season starts early in Majorca due to higher temperatures

The potato season has started much earlier than usual this year thanks to higher than average temperatures in Majorca between December and February. The Matthew Export company started collecting its Lady Christl variety on Wednesday and the first shipment will be on its way to the UK on Saturday. “Climate change is forcing us to adapt in many ways,” says Mateu Export’s Manager,[Read More…]

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US: Skagit County potato farmers lost crops due to heavy rain

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Potato farmers in Skagit County in Washington State suffered big losses after they were unable to harvest some of their crops. Farmers were unable to harvest an estimated 3 square miles of potatoes in the fall, with losses valued between $5 million and $10 million, The Skagit Valley Herald reported. Don McMoran of the Washington State[Read More…]

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Canada: Another winter of headaches for Manitoba potato growers

Manitoba potato growers are facing the inevitable result of a second extremely challenging digging season â€” elevated losses in storage. Wet weather in September and early October kept producers out of the fields, while a three-day snowstorm over the Thanksgiving weekend dropped upwards of 75 centimetres of snow in areas of south-central Manitoba, followed by yet more precipitation. Just 60 to 65[Read More…]

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Potatoes South Australia and industry band together to send wooden bins to fire ravaged Kangaroo Island

In response to the horrific bushfires on Kangaroo Island, Potatoes South Australia Inc has come up with some very practical assistance. Saddened by the devastating impact of the bushfires local farming communities in many parts of Australia, the unprecedented fires that have ravaged more than one third of Kangaroo Island are of particular concern for its members, stakeholders and their[Read More…]

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Canada: Make spring nutrient plans now, say Univ of Manitoba soil scientists

A series of looming challenges makes planning now for spring nutrient applications crucial, two Manitoba soil scientists say. A wet fall and stretched-out harvest kept many producers from applying nitrogen fertilizer. While spring nitrogen application is not unheard of, it will then have to compete with many other tasks, said University of Manitoba soil science professor Don Flaten. This may[Read More…]

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Nitrogen boosts may be necessary on British farms following wet winter washout

Farmers in Britain may need to apply more nitrogen to crops this year, following an exceptionally wet winter across most of the UK, according to the latest advice from AHDB. Charlotte Cunningham of CPM magazine reports. AHDB says the extent of the ‘moderate’ and ‘high’ excess winter rainfall (EWR) zones is already much wider this year, compared with the long-term average. Historically[Read More…]

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Big birds hit the potato jackpot in Skagit Valley fields

Farmers’ loss is trumpeter swans’ and snow geese’s gain, as the migratory birds feast on spuds left in the ground, reports HeraldNet. For the tens of thousands of swans and snow geese that migrate here, it has been a winter like no other. The birds can thank early rains in September for that. Heavy rain fell before Snohomish, Skagit and[Read More…]

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Smart farming: Prince Edward Island potato growers using new decision support tools to improve use of crop protectants

A growing number of Prince Edward Island potato farms in Canada are taking advantage of new technology to improve their use of crop protectants, including fungicides used to prevent late blight. Late blight has historically been a major disease effecting potatoes in Prince Edward Island, with the potential to cause millions of dollars in crop losses if there is a[Read More…]

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Storm Ciara delays Northern Ireland growers' potato salvage

With ten percent of last year’s potato crop still in the ground in Northern Ireland, some farmers have attempted make to use of recent good weather to try and salvage them, reports Chris McCoullough of Fresh Produce Journal. However, the sudden onslaught of Storm Ciara has knocked any chances of getting all the crop rescued this week into touch, according[Read More…]

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Cyprus potato exports under threat after frost damage

Potato farmers in the Famagusta district said Monday the overnight frost had damaged their crops, warning that not enough could be saved to serve foreign markets. According to the head of the Famagusta branch of farming union EKA, Yiannakis Gavril, the damage was big in the coastal area of Liopetri, Sotira, and Xylophagou. Gavril said not enough of the crop[Read More…]

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Japanese firms brace for climate change

At the UN climate change conference COP 25 last year, Japan was cited by the NGO Germanwatch as the country most affected by extreme weather in 2018. Strong typhoons and torrential rains hit one after another, taking lives, destroying homes and inflicting business losses throughout the archipelago. Japanese companies are now stepping up preparedness to limit future losses. Damaged potato fields In[Read More…]

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Ireland: 5% of potato crop still in the ground

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) estimates that 5% of the potato crop across the country remains in the ground. That said some farmers have a lot more acres remaining than others, depending on the weather they were greeted with in the past few months. At the beginning of December, 15-20% of the potato crop remained in the ground as the[Read More…]

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Cyprus: 80% of potato crop wiped out by rains in Famagusta district

80% of Famagusta district potato crop has been destroyed by the latest storms, according to the Cyprus News Agency. President of the Pancyprian Potato Growers Association, Andreas Karios, who visited affected fields in Avgorou said that “the rains have affected the winter crop, as well as the one planted 1,5 month ago.” “There is now a great chance we will[Read More…]

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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