In the latest edition of Eye on Potatoes: More than 160 participants from EPA, USDA, and throughout the potato industry joined NPC’s virtual Agency Tour in July, gaining a better understanding of the pest challenges faced by potato growers across the nation in growing and delivering potatoes to market. NPC COO Mike Wenkel calls in to discuss the importance of the annual tour. Jim Ehrlich, Executive Director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee also joins the podcast to talk about potato production and crop protection tools utilized in the San Luis Valley.
Farmers on Prince Edward Island are struggling in what they say is a very dry growing season, according to a report by the CBC. The Island has had a lot of hot, dry days and not much rain — in some cases, just 20 per cent of what’s normal. CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland says spring and summer have been very dry, especially in western P.E.I. The potato crop is struggling in some parts of the Island, as rainfall throughout the summer has been spotty.
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.
The latest Spud Scoop newsletter was published yesterday. Spud Scoop is a growing season publication compiled by specialists at NDSU Extension and University of Minnesota, combining information for potato growers. Potato Extension Agronomist Dr Andy Robinson writes that no late blight has been reported in potato fields, however weather conditions are favorable for late blight. Early blight is becoming more prevalent. Aphid numbers have doubled over last week, causing the PVY Vector Risk Index to more than double this week. The good news is PVY Risk Index values are less than half what they were at this time last year.
In the August 7 issue of Potato Weekly, AHDB Analyst Anthony Speight writes that once again trade across the week can been described as relatively subdued in the UK. The Government’s new “Eat Out To Help Out” scheme started this week. The scheme is designed to encourage people to visit restaurants, cafes and pubs, which have been badly hit by the lockdown. Diners across the UK will be able to enjoy half-price meals at eat-in food and drink venues on Monday to Wednesdays at more than 72,000 venues. Speight writes that it’s still quite early to see if this will re-energise potato trade.
Tong Engineering is pleased to announce the completion and operation of its new manufacturing facility in Spilsby in the UK. The £3.6 million first phase building is part of a two-phase project on the seven-acre site and marks a new milestone in the company’s continuing growth and development programme. “At the beginning of the year, we knew that 2020 was set to be a landmark year for Tong. Opening a new factory after 90 years of business and what seems like 90 extensions to our existing factory, was always going to be very exciting,” says Edward Tong, Managing Director at Tong Engineering.
By 2050, Earth is projected to be home to ten billion people. To feed them, we will need to increase crop production by at least 60 percent, writes Matt Harman in this blog article published by ESRI. Yet climate change, water scarcity, and soil erosion will force us to rethink how we grow crops. And rampant urbanization, with so many people living far away from agricultural areas, will force us to find more efficient ways to distribute food. The third green revolution builds on established precision agriculture practices, while creating a larger picture of the agricultural landscape farmers are operating within.
Outgrade potato piles can be a source of blight. In this article AHDB specialists in the UK are discussing blight control methods in outgrade and waste piles as well as best practice and tips for tackling this issue. Blight control does not start in the crop. It starts much earlier. Left uncontrolled, outgrade and waste piles act as a reservoir for blight infection. With ever changing genotypes within the blight populations, outgrade piles and volunteers can be an unwanted host for blight and a source of infection for commercial crops.
Declining consumption of potatoes in Australia is not enough reason to block the sale of Thomas Foods International’s potato packing business to fellow South Australian-based rival Mitolo, says the national competition regulator. “Feedback from potato growers and other industry participants suggested if Mitolo sought to lower prices it paid growers, most producers would be able to switch to rival packing sheds,” said ACCC deputy chairman Mick Keogh.
A next generation salad potato variety is on track to achieve 2 million tubers per hectare, bringing with it the potential to become a new market leader. according to a report by FarmingUK. The variety Jacky. developed by Agrico, is said to be on target to produce 2 million tubers per hectare with 65% sized 25-35mm yielding 50tonne/hectare overall. Jacky is a high-yielding second early potato variety. Bred to consistently produce round tubers below 45mm with pale yellow flesh, it is seen as ideal for the UK’s salad market.
An agreement reached earlier this spring that would have seen Cavendish Farms receive $4.7 million from Prince Edward Island taxpayers to help store and transport processing potatoes will not be activated due to an uptake in restaurant sales. When the PEI deal was finalized in March, there were approximately 100 million pounds of processing potatoes in storage. Figures released by United Potato Growers of Canada in mid-July showed that figure had been reduced to 3,725 hundredweight (417,000 pounds).
In the latest IFA potato market report published today, it is said that the market for the food service sector remains very flat as pubs and restaurants are slow to get going again. Retail demand has leveled off but remains positive. The early market is holding quite well and lifting continues along the east coast, however, there are more reports this week that tuber numbers are down. The NEPG expect the EU crop to be slightly higher this year. Plantings have increased by around 0.5%.
The potato industry in Ulanqab, dubbed the “potato city” of China, has become one of the main industries to help farmers shake off poverty. Located in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Ulanqab is an important national production hub for commercial potatoes and special potatoes for processing. The potatoes here originate from petri dishes in a laboratory. The laboratory can breed 150 million virus-free seedlings every year.
Are you that enthusiastic researcher that likes to work on modelling and programming, and apply it to improve processes in crop production? ‘Yield gap analysis for sustainable potato production’ (Potato Gap NL) is a project funded by NWO and Holland Innovative Potato (HIP), an initiative of 10 companies active in the potato value chain and prominent global players in the fields of potato breeding and processing. Increases in potato yields in the Netherlands have been relatively small compared to other crops.
The recent revisions that USDA made to its coronavirus farm relief program are expected to provide some relief to potato farmers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Sean Ellis reports for the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. The federal CFAP program, which was announced April 17, will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers impacted by COVID. The initial parameters of the program meant Idaho spud farmers, as well as most wheat and barley growers, would have received little if any of the funds.
The World Potato Congress Inc. is pleased to announce that the registration for the WPC 2021 to be held in Dublin, Ireland from May 31 to June 3, 2021 is now open. Individuals, accompanying persons and students can now register for the 2021 congress and view the Programme, Social Events & Tours offered and Sponsors & Exhibitors opportunities available. The registration process also provides accommodation options which can be booked as part of the congress registration. The early bird fee for registration deadline is January 31, 2021.
In a press release issued today, the company says completing construction and commissioning a $37 million plant upgrade, managing staff to continue operations in the middle of Tasmania’s COVID-19 hotspot, and navigating ever-changing shift profiles – it’s been a challenging six months for McCain Foods’ Smithton plant. As one of the region’s largest employers, McCain Foods has officially “come out on the other side” with the site’s production recently returning to a full seven-day roster.
The Idaho Grower Shipper Association has cancelled its 92nd annual convention due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris Koger reports for The Packer. The event was scheduled for Sept. 2-4 in Sun Valley, Idaho. It’s just the second time the annual potato convention has been cancelled; the 1945 convention was cancelled because of “war conditions,” according to an Aug. 3 statement from the Idaho Grower Shippers Association’s executive committee.
Three well-known companies in the potato industry, three identities, one brand. Idaho Steel, Reyco and Kiremko have been strategic partners for decades. In a press release, the companies say: “We believe in the success of partnerships, with our combined teams we share our know-how. This collaboration is unique and ensures that we can serve the entire world market with state-of-the-art potato processing lines. With production facilities in the Netherlands and the US, we are able to deliver the same quality of innovative equipment to virtually any location.
In a Twitter tweet today, the Ronald McDonald House Charities says: “We are truly grateful for the support of McCain, an @RMHCCanada National Partner, and an incredible supporter of our mission to help keep families with a sick or injured child together and near the medical care their child needs. When families learn their child is sick and must be hospitalized, life as they know it changes overnight. Families embark on what is an often unexpected and difficult journey full of uncertainty, worry, fear and hope RMHC says on its website.
A leading exporter of Jersey Royals and one of the Island’s major growers have spoken of their pride in keeping the potato industry going through a difficult 2020 season. Adverse weather and the Covid-19 pandemic have both contributed to a challenging year for farmers in Jersey. Christine Hellio, from Manor Farm in St Ouen, said the Island had responded well after facing the initial crisis presented by Coronavirus in March.
A local potato processing plant that reported several COVID-19 cases to Oregon Health Authority is back in full operation, with all employees recovered and back on the job. Wong Potatoes reported five cases among employees of the business on April 20, one of the first locations in the state to have multiple cases. Owner Dan Chin temporarily closed the operation, which employs 40 people, to contain the spread of the virus. But now three months later, the plant is currently open and operating, despite a difficult water year.
The Dutch agricultural sector is said to have, relatively speaking, the lowest environmental impact of all countries in the world. That is what ABN Amro says. According to the bank, the joint ‘footprint of CO2, energy, pesticides and antibiotics in the Netherlands is the smallest per kilo of agricultural product.’ “We produce more per hectare of land here than any other country,” says Jan de Ruyter, agricultural sector banker at ABN Amro.
The potato industry in Australia is now in a state of ‘high alert’ for any potential French fries dumping activity from the EU, highlighting its chief concerns as price plummeting and farmer welfare after a tough season. The alert was raised after the European Union (EU) recently passed an EUR650mn (US$741.1/A$1.1.mn) COVID-19 government assistance scheme that would enable EU firms to export their processed potatoes cheaply Down Under, where before it had never been a common avenue.
EarthFresh is pleased to announce their new complete product line of organic and conventional potatoes packed in 100% compostable paper bags, the company says in a press release issued earlier today.