Latest potato news from around the World

Aviko Belgium orders ‘peace of mind’ – Kiremko sells 30 STRATA Invicta steam peelers in 30 months

Kiremko proudly announced today that the 30th STRATA Invicta® steam peeler was bought by Aviko Belgium. The manufacturer and distributor of specialized processing equipment unveils that this milestone was reached in precisely 30 months after the steam peeler was first launched commercially. “We didn’t know of this anniversary of the Kiremko STRATA Invicta® steam peeler at the moment we bought it”, Aviko Belgium Project Manager Cor Koole admits. “We just bought it because it offers us the highest reliability.

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Grimme’s Ventor 4150: ‘The rise of a revolution in harvesting technology’

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.

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COVID-19 support scheme for Ireland’s potato sector now open

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is notifying members that the coronavirus (COVID-19) Support Scheme for the potato sector has opened for applications. Farming Life quotes UFU potato committee chair Robert Sibbett Jnr: “The opening of the COVID-19 support scheme for potato growers will be well received among our members. Like all farmers across Northern Ireland, they have been hit hard by the pandemic due to market disruptions.

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Canada: Researchers study the benefits of precision irrigation for potato growers

Researchers in Canada’s Alberta province are studying how potato farmers and their crops could benefit from new irrigation technology. The industry and government supported project “Towards Climate-Robust Irrigation Water Management for Potato Production” is now in the second year of its 4-year run. The project is investigating if precision irrigation can help increase water use efficiency and potato crop yields in Alberta.

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San Luis Valley potato farmers look ahead

Despite 2020 being a difficult year in many respects, San Luis Valley potato growers have been able to raise a very good looking crop this season, reports Rebecca Copley in this article published in The Conejos County Citizen. As farmers get ready to head into harvest, James Ehrlich, Executive Director for the Colorado Potato Administration Committee, shared that it is hopeful. “I think potato farmers have had good prices and demand. People are eating at home. All these signs are good for us. Our crops should be better than last year for sure. It would really surprise me if it wasn’t. Prices are strong. I think we’re set for a pretty good year,” said Ehrlich.

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A brief description of the most common potato varieties cultivated in India

In this article, author Sangeeta Soni provides a list and brief description of 14 most commonly grown potato varieties in India. She writes that potatoes have been cultivated in the country for at least the past 300 years. Three of the varieties that Soni describes briefly in her article is Kufri Sindhuri, Kufri Chandramukhi, and Kufri Jyoti.

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Pure Foods Tasmania to acquire Daly Potato Company

It was widely reported in Australian media that Pure Foods Tasmania is planning to buy the business and assets of Daly Potato Company for $1.8 million. Daly Potato Company emerged from a 30-year-old farm owned by the Daly family on Tasmania’s southeast coast. Its premium potato salads are sold to major supermarket chains including Woolworths, Coles and Metcash with sales growing in the last three years from $211,000 to $2million.

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PCN: ‘How we’re getting to the root of a global pest threatening potatoes in East Africa’

Despite an increase of 60% in the area of cultivated land, production has been declining from an average of 20 tonnes a hectare to around 9.1 in Rwanda, 8.6 in Kenya and 4.3 in Uganda. This is way below the potential production of 40 tonnes a hectare. The factors contributing to the low and declining yields include losses due to attack by a range of pests and diseases. Potato cyst nematodes (PCN) are the most recent pest threat to emerge in the region. Targeting the nematode during hatching and just before it invades host roots, stands out as the most vulnerable life stage to target for their management.

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Kent’s Provenance Potatoes launches 2kg family bags

Kent based Provenance Potatoeshttp://www.provenance-potatoes.co.uk/ is launching a 2kg retail pack, brilliantly sized for store shelves in farm shops and independent retailers across the South of the UK. The new retail pack is the perfect size for families, with the added bonus that the potatoes are locally grown and packed and support British farmers. All Provenance Potatoes are washed, graded and packed using only the finest potatoes from the heart of Kent.

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Strategies for the control of potato mop-top and tobacco rattle viruses

Potato mop-top virus (PMTV) and tobacco rattle virus (TRV) are very different viruses, but the symptoms they cause are virtually identical. In this article, Carrie Huffman Wohleb – Associate Professor at Washington State University – takes a closer look at these viruses and suggests potential control strategies. “Spraing” is an old term used to describe the brown arcs, flecks, or rings in the flesh of tubers that result from potato mop-top or tobacco rattle infection. If you see these symptoms, it’s important to find out which virus you are dealing with, because their management strategies differ.

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UK: AHDB pledges to reform in response to request for views

A new strategy and improved communication with levy payers on how their money is spent are just two of the significant changes AHDB has pledged to make. This follows the Government’s response to the Request for Views, published earlier this year. “We have listened carefully to the views expressed by levy payers in response to the Government-led Request for Views, and we are now committed to some key reforms to ensure we are fit for purpose in the changing times British agriculture is facing,” said AHDB Chair Nicholas Saphir.

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NEPG urges growers to reduce planted area in 2021, although current harvest total expected to be average

The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) estimates that the total and final potato harvest for its members for the 2020 season will be on par with the 5 year average total. NEPG says the total planted area has increased with 1,4 % in 2020 compared to last year’s planted area. It estimates the total harvest to be 27,9 million tons, compared with 26,9 million last year. NEPG is advising its growers in member countries to “take control and be masters of their own destiny”. Growers are urged to reduce next year’s planted area.

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British fans of ‘grow your own’ fruit and veg urged to test soil for safety before eating lockdown harvest

Britain’s legions of ‘grow your own’ gardeners are being urged to ensure their soil is safe before they consume their hard-earned harvest. The UK’s love affair with gardening has flourished amid lockdown as more people took up the hobby and began to grow their own fruit and vegetables. But a firm set up to test domestic soil quality has urged caution before garden enthusiasts enjoy their first crops. A spokesman for SafeSoil UK said in a recent press release: “With the UK’s proud industrial heritage the reality is that many of the plots of land that gardeners are using to grow their crops have a back-story that can mean contamination in the soil.

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MountainKing adds longtime fingerling farmer, packer Cindy Adkins to sales team

MountainKing has added Cindy Adkins, a former owner and operator of the nation’s largest certified organic packer of fingerling potatoes, to its team of sales representatives. Based in Colorado, where she started growing and harvesting fingerlings back in 1997, Adkins will be responsible for helping MountainKing’s retail partners increase sales of the company’s small round varieties and fingerlings. “As a vertically integrated company, MountainKing can compete with any major producer and packing house.” Cindy says.

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Anti-dumping sentiment expressed by the South African potato industry

In a news story published by iAfrica, titled “Urgent Action Needed To Protect SA’s Potato Industry”, it is said that South Africa is a key destination for processed potato product exports from the EU “where there is a history of dumping”. This is set to have a negative impact on the country’s agricultural sector and surrounding communities, according to the news article. André Jooste, CEO of Potatoes South Africa (PSA), is quoted as saying that the local potato industry has already suffered significantly from a decrease in demand as a result of COVID-19 related regulations, such as the closure of restaurants and fast food outlets, restricted trade and movement of informal traders.

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Wageningen UR offers PhD project for potato sustainability research

Wageningen UR in the Netherlands is now offering a PhD research opportunity – in principle a 4-year PhD position – for the study of potato sustainability. This project is said to be about understanding the effects of extreme weather events on potato development and on the yield and quality of the tubers. These effects can be viewed in relation to soil quality management and its implications for crop climate resistance and nutrient-use efficiency.

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Plant protein discovery could reduce need for fertilizer and improve the tolerance of crops to climate change

Researchers at the University of Nottingham in the UK have discovered how a protein in plant roots controls the uptake of minerals and water, a finding which could improve the tolerance of agricultural crops to climate change and reduce the need for chemical fertilisers. The research shows that members of the blue copper proteins family, the Uclacyanins are vital in the formation of Casparian strips. These strips are essential structures that control mineral nutrient and water use efficiencies by forming tight seals between cells in plants, blocking nutrients and water leaking between.

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Potato storage without CIPC: AHDB specialists suggest 5 ways to make sure you’re ready

According to AHDB in the UK, the 2020/21 potato storage season is proving to be one of the most challenging yet for the British potato industry. With storage season fast approaching, harvest provides the best opportunity to familiarise yourself with your crop and refine your storage plans accordingly. In this article, specialists at AHDB’s Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research Unit are providing the key aspects that growers and storage operators should focus on during the onset on the 2020/21 storage season.

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New Indian potato processing plant said to ‘take on established brands’

Keeping an eye on the rising global demand for potato-based products, India’s Banas Dairy company started with the construction of a new potato processing plant in North Gujarat. Avinash Nair of The Indian Express reports that Banas Dairy aims to “take on established brands like McCain Foods India Pvt Ltd and Hyfun Foods in their backyard” in the potato processing sector. Nair says the unit will have an annual capacity to process 50,000 metric tonnes of potatoes. It will focus on producing French fries and 12 other processed potato products for both the domestic and international markets in South-East Asia.

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Analysis: The months ahead for the British processing sector

Processing potatoes supply is still outweighing the reduced demand on the domestic market. Given that most planting decisions had been made this year when the pandemic hit, this demand erosion has had minimal impact on the GB potato area. Indeed, the current estimate of 119Kha is only 1% back on 2019. In recent years, the processing area has been increasing steadily, standing at 37.5Kha last year. Using the proportion the processing area made up of the total GB area last year (31%), we could estimate 2020 area to stand around 37Kha.

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UFU: Northern Ireland’s potato sector at risk from rivers

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) says a combination of heavy rainfall and poor management of rivers by local river agencies, has led to unnecessary field flooding and potato crop destruction in areas of Northern Ireland. UFU deputy president William Irvine said: “A large amount of rain has fallen across the country in recent days and while we are unable to control the weather, the lack of river management has been the catalyst causing field flooding and widespread damage of crops in the process.

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McCain Australia and New Zealand resumes normal production after Covid induced backlog

With Kiwis eating fewer hot chips during lockdown, one of New Zealand’s largest potato chip manufacturers was forced to cut production significantly for six weeks at its Timaru factory until the backlog was cleared. McCain Foods agriculture director Australia and New Zealand John Jackson said the company’s factory at Washdyke, Timaru, had reduced its usual 24/7 production to five day a week shifts when stock built up due to reduced orders. Fifteen weeks after takeaway food businesses and restaurants were allowed to re-open, the factory has returned to normal production.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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