Weather/Climate

‘Varieties for a changing climate’: Europatat provides update on the ‘ADAPT’ research project

The European Potato Trade Association (Europatat) is part of an international consortium involved in the research project ADAPT (“Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato”). The project aims to develop new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging climatic growth conditions expected in future. It was started in July 2020 and will take place over the next three years with a total budget of 5 million Euro funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

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‘Perfecting Potatoes Together’: BASF opens forum for potato growers

Agri-chemical company BASF has launched a new initiative to help UK growers unlock the potential – and the profits – of their potato crop. Titled, ‘Perfecting Potatoes Together’, the initiative provides a platform on which the potato industry can come together to share experience, know-how and passion for developing and perfecting healthy potato crops.

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Warmer, drier weather: Russet Burbank variety not a happy camper

The most common potato variety grown in North America is the Russet Burbank, which is mainly grown in the Pacific Northwest. But as the climate there gets warmer and drier, growing these tubers may become more difficult. To help the industry adapt, Richard Novy, a potato breeder and plant geneticist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Idaho, and other scientists have been developing new, more resilient potato varieties, including the Blazer Russet and Clearwater Russet.

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Jersey potato farmers feeling the heat as the Island enters a drought

Mike Renouard, business unit director at The Jersey Royal Company, said that farmers were hoping for a period of rain to help with the growth of their crop. Cool and dry conditions over the last two weeks are slowing down the growing process, forcing farmers to irrigate their fields. This continued dry spell could impact the quantity of potatoes being lifted.

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Can ‘miniature greenhouses’ make vegetable production in Canada’s far north more viable?

AAFC Cold Climate Eco-physiologist Dr. Julia Wheeler and her team is hoping to find that by using bioplastic and other season-extension technology, northern Canadian farmers can extend their growing season and improve the yield, shelf-life, and nutritional quality of their vegetables. They are Dr. Wheeler and her team are installing reusable, half-meter high plastic tunnels over vegetable rows.

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NASA Harvest and CropX partner to support sustainable ag initiatives

NASA Harvest (NASA’s Food Security and Agriculture Program) and CropX, a global leader in soil analytics for agriculture, recently announced a strategic partnership that will give NASA Harvest unprecedented soil insights for its global agricultural monitoring efforts. The partnership will further NASA Harvest’s mission to improve food security and advance sustainable agriculture.

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Long-term potato storage: Ambient vs refrigeration

Storing potatoes long-term is often challenging and this is especially so if there is a reliance on ambient ventilation. Even in the most favourable seasons, it is seldom possible to hold crops at optimum temperature in ambient stores beyond early May. In this article, specialists at AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research (CSR) facility in the UK explore how refrigeration can help deliver on long-term storage.

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New Quantis biostimulant gives relief to heat-stressed potatoes

Syngenta UK has launched its first biostimulant in potatoes, Quantis, that has shown to effectively help crops cope with the impact of heat stress. company said that it had carried out “the UK’s most extensive research field trial of a biostimulant”. Analysis of the data resource had revealed “significantly increased yield for crops that had been under prolonged or extreme heat stress”.

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New problems arise for crop storage as planet gets warmer

For generations, Brian Sackett’s family has farmed potatoes that are made into chips found on grocery shelves in much of the eastern U.S. About 25% of the nation’s potato chips get their start in Michigan, where reliably cool air during September harvest and late spring has been ideal for crop storage. But with temperatures edging higher, Sackett had to buy several small refrigeration units for his sprawling warehouses. Last year, he paid $125,000 for a bigger one.

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Canadian govt working with farmers to accelerate adoption of climate-smart best practices

Farmers are on the front lines of worsening climate impacts, and face increasing risk of wildfires and extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts. The best way to build climate resiliency across Canadian agriculture’s diversity of realities and landscapes is by developing and deploying solutions that are tailored for each region, led by farmers and farm groups themselves, the Government of Canada says in a press release.

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Prince Edward Island potato farmers say holding ponds help counter impacts of drought

Some farmers in Canada’s Prince Edward Island have no choice but to use irrigation ponds to counter the impacts of drought conditions like what was experienced on the Island last summer, says the P.E.I. Potato Board. The CBC’s Wayne Thibodeau reports that the board issued a statement Thursday to address what it described as myths by a small group of Islanders that farmers will run streams and wells dry.

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Soil debate:

Claims that the world may have only 60 harvests remaining because of improper soil management are

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US agriculture industry bets on carbon as a new ‘cash crop’

US farmers make their living raising crops from the soil each year. Now, some are getting paid for putting something back into their fields: carbon. In an article published by the Wall Street Journal, correspondent Jacob Bunge writes that big agriculture companies including Bayer AG , Nutrien Ltd. and Cargill Inc. are jockeying with startups to encourage crop producers to adopt climate-friendly practices and develop farming-driven carbon markets.

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Irish potato crop down after an ‘unusual and variable season’

“What an unusual and variable season 2020 has been,” writes Teagasc potato specialist Shay Phelan in the December issue of the Teagasc potato newsletter. Phelan writes that most growers were able to plant crops earlier than normal, but late frost, followed by severe drought in some areas, excess rainfall in July/August and again in late October made growing the crop very tricky for all growers. Yields recorded show a significant decrease on the 2019 crop and tuber numbers were low.

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Canada: Increasing frustration over irrigation water as PEI loses crown for potato production to Manitoba, Alberta

For the first time in recent history, Manitoba and Alberta have overtaken Prince Edward Island in potato production, according to a Statistics Canada report released Friday. “The difference in productivity, the yield, between P.E.I. and those provinces is water, and the lack of ability of farmers to access water here on P.E.I. And that’s reflecting in our production,” said Greg Donald, executive director of the P.E.I. Potato Board.

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COVID-19 and too much rain: A Florida farmer’s challenges mirror those that other farmers face

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.

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What a mess: Some British potato growers muddle through harvest after fifth-wettest October since 1862

Potato harvesting has once again been affected by wet weather, with widespread rainfall in recent weeks hampering grower efforts to get the crop out of the ground. According to the Met Office, the UK experienced the fifth-wettest October since 1862 last month. It included the wettest day on record for average rainfall (31.7mm) on 3 October. Key processors McCain and Lamb Weston both spoke of challenging conditions in East Anglia, parts of which saw close to 200% of their usual average rainfall in October.

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Significant drop in Canadian potato production

Canadian potato production will decline this year, possibly by six percent or more. Last year, Canadian farmers produced 106.4 million hundredweight of potatoes. The 2020 crop could be around 100 million cwt.

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