Seed potato producers are leaving no stone unturned to slow the proliferation of virus in British stocks, with straw mulches and mineral oils set to compliment systemic insecticides as part of a robust integrated pest management (IPM) strategy this year, write Rob Jones and Lucy de la Pasture in this in-depth article, published by crop production magazine (CPM).
Latest potato news from around the World
Just saying North American potato production has benefited from the efforts of Nora Olsen would be an understatement. For her continued dedication to the potato industry, Nora Olsen was named the 2021 winner of the Spudwoman of the Year award by Spudman magazine. “She is the queen of potatoes, especially related to storage,” said Silvia Rondon, Oregon State University professor and Extension entomologist specialist.
Bancroft, Wis.-based RPE will soon roll out a new compostable bag for its potatoes, according to a report by Ashley Nickle for The Packer. Randy Shell, vice president of business and program development, said at the Southern Exposure event that the company has been testing for about eight months a compostable bag for its potatoes. Shell said RPE has almost perfected the packaging and will be launching it shortly.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in New Zealand has released its Interim Report (Essential Facts and Conclusions) on the investigation into European dumping of frozen frozen potato fries and wedges into the NZ market. Potatoes NZ says in a press release that the MBIE investigation found there is dumping, but it has deemed it not of material threat to the NZ industry or at a level requiring tariffs.
Agronomy expert: ‘Doing nothing is not an option – whole systems approach needed to reduce potato virus’
Writes Eric Anderson, Senior Agronomist at Scottish Agronomy: “We have sprayed ourselves into resistance, and we need to be bolder in adopting natural measures into pest management if we’re to secure the health and quality of seed potatoes in Great Britain. The prevalence of virus in seed stocks is challenging the industry and we are at a tipping point. It’s clear that insecticides are not doing the job on their own anymore and that we need to do something differently.”
In Russia, HZPC is using an unconventional strategy to secure its seed potato trade with the country for the future: In 2019, a small breeding company was set up to provide Russian contract growers with pre-basis seed potatoes. In 2020, the production of mini-tubers was added too. These choices were made due to Russia’s aim to be entirely self-supporting within its borders and completely shut out the import of seed potatoes in due course.
Dewulf and Agrointelli have announced that they will be working together to explore the benefits of using autonomous machines in potato cultivation. This joint effort is triggered by a shared vision of broadening the possibilities for potato growers to implement new solutions for more sustainable, efficient, and robust production methods and technologies.
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.
In this edition of the National Potato Council (NPC) podcast, Eye on Potatoes, ECOO Mike Wenkel calls in to talk about the upcoming Leadership Institute Alumni Summit, to be held July 13-15, which will virtually bring together graduates of the Potato Industry Leadership Institute to network, refresh skills, and learn new techniques to better position themselves for success in the potato industry. Plus, NPC CEO Kam Quarles joins the podcast for a trade policy discussion, including the ongoing standoff in Mexico’s Supreme Court.
There seems to be little hope for an imminent agreement between the EU and the UK on mutual trade in seed potatoes. If no agreement is reached on the phytosanitary preconditions for import and export, there is a good chance that the export of seed potatoes from EU countries to the UK will be resolutely closed on 1 July. This is what Dick Hylkema, director of the Dutch Potato Organization (NAO) fears.
For the sake of the health of conference participants and in consideration of the dynamically changing realities related to the COVID 19 pandemic, EAPR President Jadwiga Śliwka and the organizers have announced today that they have decided to postpone the 21st EAPR Triennial Conference. The new conference dates are now 4-8 July 2022. The Conference will be held in the International Exhibition and Convention Centre EXPO Kraków, former capital of Poland.
As the potato season edges closer, growers will be pondering herbicide programmes and asking which strategy is likely to deliver the greatest bang for their buck. Ken Fletcher, Editor of The Scottish Farmer writes that the first decision confronting growers will be whether to use metribuzin, or not? With it, weed control is almost always easier and less expensive, but the long list of varieties sensitive to this substance means many growers have to consider the alternatives.
PepsiCo to spread regenerative farming practices across 7 million acres, sustainably source all key ingredients
PepsiCo, Inc. today announced a new, impact-driven Positive Agriculture ambition, anchored by a goal to spread regenerative farming practices across 7 million acres, approximately equal to its entire agricultural footprint. The company estimates the effort will eliminate at least 3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by the end of the decade. It also aims to improve the livelihoods of more than 250,000 people in its agricultural supply chain, and sustainably source all key ingredients by 2030.
Lamb Weston / Meijer and TOMRA Food: A solid partnership that assures high quality and sustainable products
Fueled by their dedication to innovation and improving efficiency, Lamb Weston / Meijer is a leader in producing high- quality products. To keep the quality of their end products top-shelf and remove defects from raw product processing lines, the best steam peeling equipment and optical sorters are necessary – and for Lamb Weston / Meijer this means TOMRA Food. The 11 TOMRA Steam Peelers operating in seven Lamb Weston / Meijer processing facilities worldwide help the business churn out a whopping 255 tons of potato products every hour.
EarthFresh recently received the Best in Organic Product award in the ‘New Product Showcase’ at the CPMA’s Fresh Week Virtual Trade Show and Conference. “We have expanded our Organic product line up to include our Organic Red, Russet & Golden potatoes in new eye-catching 10-lb. compostable paper bags”, says Stephanie Cutaia, Marketing Director at EarthFresh.
A Dutch-made potato haulm puller is now available in the UK through Ely-based Standen Imports, offering growers a ‘simple and cost-effective method’ of haulm destruction. Following the withdrawal of chemical desiccant diquat, there has been much discussion over which alternative haulm destruction method, or combination of methods, is best.
Both Teagasc and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue are confirming that Brexit will impact negatively on the quantities of seed potato that Irish growers can import from the UK. However, the upside to such a development is the opportunity it will create for new and existing seed potato growers in Ireland to expand their operations.
Mexico’s Supreme Court refused two weeks ago for the second time in six weeks to make a ruling that could allow substantial new access to the Mexican market worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually for U.S. potatoes, fueling the determination of Mexican farmers to continue their fight against the trade.
A recent trial in potatoes in the UK has shown that using smart liquid fertilisers can significantly reduce the amount of phosphate required to generate one tonne of yield when compared to traditional granular fertilisers. Carl Gibbard, Agro-Vital technical manager, explains this insight could pay dividends as growers plan their crop nutrition programme for the upcoming season.
AHDB’s potato storage research team in the UK has worked closely with industry representatives from the British Potato Trade Association, Fresh Potato Suppliers’ Association, National Farmers Union, National Farmers Union of Scotland and UK Potato Processors’ Association to submit a position paper to the Chemical Regulation Division (CRD) of the HSE.
The organisers of PotatoEurope 2021 say in their latest newsletter that pre-planting preparations have progressed well at the PotatoEurope fields at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) field crops in Lelystad, the Netherlands during the past couple of weeks, and demonstration plots were recently planted. During a first-of-its-kind event, one of the plots was planted with an Agrointelli Robotti, an autonomous robotic machine that was employed to pull a Miedema CP 42 4-row cup potato planter.
If consumers “eat with their eyes first”, you could say that packaging is the main course. As such, communicating your brand through a unique package can be one of the most powerful tools in the produce aisle. Idaho based ProSource Produce is well aware of this and recently released the first images of its new branded Idaho russet potato packaging.
A recently published article by academic experts Marc Ghislain, Rick Goodman and Alex Barekye describes the development of an African potato variety – transformed with three resistance genes from wild potato relatives – that provides resistance to late blight disease. The article was published by OpenAccessGovernment.
One year after making its first COVID-19 relief delivery to the Houston Food Bank, MountainKing has now shipped more than 1.6 million pounds of fresh potatoes to the non-profit organization dedicated to providing nutritious meals to those in need. “For years, MountainKing has been a supporter of the Houston Food Bank and its mission of providing food for better lives,” notes Andreas Trettin, the company’s director of marketing.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers are encouraging farmers to buck the trend and use buckwheat as a triple threat crop. In addition to its high nutritional value, the fast growing crop is proving to be beneficial in suppressing pests such as wireworms in potatoes, and preventing soil diseases.
Averis Seeds B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Avebe, will be working together with the hybrid potato breeding company Solynta on the hybrid breeding of starch potato varieties, the companies announced in a press release. Hybrid breeding facilitates significantly faster development of new sustainable potato varieties compared to conventional breeding.