Latest news stories from around the World

Idaho’s potato future looks bright with Lamb Weston’s $415M investment

In a major boost to Idaho’s potato industry, Lamb Weston is investing $415 million to expand its American Falls facility. The project aims to increase the plant’s french fry production by 40%, making it one of the world’s largest frozen potato processors. Slated for completion by mid-2024, the expansion will add 12,000 acres of potato farmland in Idaho and create approximately 280 new jobs, reinforcing the state’s leading role in the global potato market.

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Potatoes New Zealand appoints new CEO

Potatoes New Zealand has appointed Kate Trufitt as its new chief executive. A director of Horticulture NZ, she has held many roles in the horticulture sector. According to the Potatoes NZ website, Trufitt has a great breadth of experience from plant nursery, growing, postharvest and processing through to the market – both domestic and export.

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A booming global potato snacks market: Flavors and health trends shape its future growth

The global potato snacks market is booming, valued at $92.31 billion in 2023 and expected to grow at a 3.1% CAGR to $125.04 billion by 2033, according to Persistence Market Research. Factors such as rising disposable incomes, increasing population, and urbanization are driving this growth. The market is also influenced by trends like demand for flavored and organic snacks, and innovative packaging. Potato snacks, including chips and fries, have become a staple in global snacking culture.

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Weathering the storm: How Europe’s potato industry navigated 2023, according to Raiffeisen CEO

The European potato industry has faced an unprecedented year of highs and lows, according to Raiffeisen’s CEO, Ferdi Buffen, who opened the 33rd Weuthen Potato Day in Germany recently. Extreme weather, soaring and plummeting prices, and supply chain disruptions have marked this year as an “unimaginable roller coaster ride.” Despite these challenges, the industry is adapting and gearing up for future opportunities, proving that even in extreme years, resilience and innovation shine through, Mr. Buffen said.

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The all-new GRIMME EVO 280: Setting new standards in crop handling and operational efficiency

GRIMME introduces the next generation of its EVO 280 potato harvester, now featuring a fully hydraulic drive system for improved performance and efficiency. The upgraded model offers enhanced user-friendliness with features like Speedtronic-Web and Speedtronic-Sep for automatic speed regulation. The SmartView display aids in operator monitoring, while georeferenced yield mapping is accessible via the myGRIMME portal.

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Sustainability push: Pacific Northwest to take a green turn in potato farming

A consortium in the Pacific Northwest, led by Oregon State University, has received a $50 million grant for a five-year project to make potato farming more eco-friendly. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the initiative aims to reduce carbon emissions and improve soil health through innovative farming methods. Native American tribes, including the Nez Perce Tribe, are also participating.

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Advice from an old farmer: ‘Keep skunks and bankers at a distance’

Dear readers of Potato News Today: I just saw this wonderful piece, and feel to share it with you. It has apparently been circulating online for quite some time by now. Still, it is really worth a read – or a second read (and some thought) for that matter… Apparently there are many versions of it, but credit for the original version goes to former judge and Texas State Legislator Roy English, a popular author of several books featuring his wit and no-nonsense humor.

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Innovate UK-funded project aims to make potato farming carbon neutral

In a pioneering effort to reduce the carbon footprint of potato farming, Branston, the UK’s largest potato supplier, is leading a project funded by Innovate UK. The initiative focuses on optimizing the use of nitrogen fertilizers and is exploring cutting-edge technologies like R-leaf and Piketa. The project aims to revolutionize traditional farming methods and is a call to action for the industry to meet ambitious net-zero targets.

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New initiative takes aim at Britain’s £31 million PCN problem

A new body, the PCN Forum, has been launched to tackle the potato cyst nematode problem affecting nearly half of Britain’s ware potato lands. Led by GB Potatoes, the forum aims to unite industry and academic experts in a coordinated strategy against the pest, estimated to cost the industry £31 million annually. The initiative marks a significant step towards sustainable agriculture in the UK.

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Crafting a super spud: Researchers set the stage for climate-resistant potatoes poised to enhance nutrition

Scientists have developed a “super pangenome” that encompasses the genetic diversity of multiple potato species to enhance its resilience and nutritional quality. The pangenome includes 296 potato varieties and 60 wild species, making it the most extensive genetic database for potatoes to date. The research team aims to improve potato germplasm for climate resilience and food security.

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Fries on the rise: Nearly half of potatoes now go into frozen products

The USDA’s Economic Research Service reveals that the majority of potatoes in the U.S. are now sold in processed forms like frozen, chipped, or canned products. The popularity of french fries in quick-service restaurants has led to a rise in frozen potato products since 1979. However, the trend saw a slowdown as consumers adopted low-carb diets and explored alternative foods. Despite this, frozen potato availability increased by 8% during the pandemic years of 2019–21. Quick-service restaurants account for two-thirds of french fry consumption.

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New Bauer E-Series reel irrigators: Improved performance and ease of use

The new Bauer E-series reel irrigators have been improved with features that make operation and maintenance easier while maintaining their reputation for strength, performance, and durability. The changes include a redesigned side guard for easier access to mechanical components, a larger battery, and enhanced remote access capabilities. Users can store up to 12 different irrigation programs.

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IFA: European crop growth boosted by favorable weather, unlike central France

Following the end of the summer break, Ireland sees a surge in retail demand and home consumption, leading to scarcity of old season Rooster crop while boosting the new season crop market. However, inconsistent yields and growing costs pose challenges. In Europe, favorable weather aids crop growth, though central France uses irrigation for crop lifting. Demand for Scotland’s early maincrop whites surpasses supply, while UK wrestles with quality issues in M. Piper crops.

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Eco-friendly farming:’s new hybrid herbicide sets a new standard, an agtech company, has successfully launched its groundbreaking hybrid herbicide technology in Canada. The technology offers multiple benefits including faster desiccation speed for efficient potato drying, precision that reduces bacterial infections, and improved tuber uniformity for better yields. It is weather-resistant, ensuring consistent performance and higher productivity. The solution also enhances potato quality, extends shelf life, and minimizes post-harvest losses.

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DOWNS unveils I-CropVision: The next-gen optical potato sorter

DOWNS has launched the I-CropVision, a modular and versatile optical potato sorter that can be integrated into existing installations. Utilizing Artificial Intelligence algorithms, the I-CropVision sorts potatoes based on quality and waste, offering three output options. The new sorter aims to address the increasing global demand for potatoes and labor shortages. It will be showcased at the PotatoEurope trade fair in Belgium and is available in various widths.

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The AVR Python: The new indispensable, flexible link in your crop handling line

AVR introduces its latest innovation, the AVR Python, a twin conveyor belt system designed for potato farming. The Python offers high capacity and is gentle on potatoes due to its moving raised edges. It is easily transportable and user-friendly, featuring a robust yet maneuverable frame. The system allows for various positioning angles and independent height adjustments for intake and discharge outlets. Enhanced features include a frequency converter, electronic length adjustment, and compatibility with AVR Line Control software.

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Agronico joins Simplot: A milestone deal in Australia’s agricultural landscape

In a landmark deal, Simplot is set to acquire Agronico, Tasmania’s leading seed potato producer. The acquisition, pending regulatory approvals, promises to reshape Tasmania’s agricultural sector. Judith Shaw, Agronico’s owner, expressed confidence in Simplot’s ability to continue the company’s 35-year legacy. Agronico, known for its innovative use of hydroponics, produces 8,000 tonnes of seed potatoes and 25,000 tons of minitubers annually.

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Crispy and healthy? The science behind air frying and traditional potato frying methods

The National Autonomous University of Mexico conducted a study comparing traditional immersion frying and air frying methods for French fries. The research found that air frying offers benefits like reduced oil consumption by 50-70% and a potential 90% reduction in acrylamide levels, a carcinogen. The study also examined how each method affects the fries’ texture, color, and moisture content, aiming to provide insights for healthier frying alternatives and influence consumer choices.

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U.S. potato exports smash records: An in-depth look at a booming industry

The U.S. potato export market has achieved record-breaking success, with a 19.05% increase in value to USD 2.2 billion and a 3.85% rise in volume to 3.3 million metric tons. This comprehensive growth spans various potato categories, including frozen, fresh, and dehydrated products. Year-over-year data also shows an 11% increase from the previous year, highlighting the industry’s resilience and potential for future expansion. The report offers valuable insights for stakeholders and policy-makers.

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The global potato market is growing at a steady rate in 2023

The global potato market is experiencing robust growth, with projections indicating a rise from USD 96.3 billion in 2022 to USD 118.15 billion by 2028, according to 360 Market Updates. Another source, Mordor Intelligence, estimates the market at USD 11.18 billion in 2023. Leading exporters include the Netherlands, Germany, and Canada, while Belgium tops the list of importers. The market is divided into fresh and chilled categories, each with its own trade dynamics.

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Beyond traditional tubers: The rise, challenges, and promise of true potato seed (TPS)

True Potato Seed (TPS) is a unique method of potato cultivation originating from the Andean highlands of South America, where the region’s diverse microclimates fostered the potato’s evolution. Indigenous Andean communities first utilized TPS, valuing it for both consumption and cultivation. Modern agriculture recognizes TPS for its genetic diversity, aiding in breeding disease-resistant and nutritionally improved varieties. TPS offers advantages like disease resistance and cost-effective transport but faces challenges like labor intensity and genetic variability. Despite its fluctuating popularity, TPS remains crucial in developing nations, addressing infrastructure challenges and promoting socio-economic growth.

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Global overview: Low potato harvest and high prices expected in Western Europe, historically high prices in North America

European countries face a potato shortage due to unfavorable weather, high nitrogen fertilizer prices, and past low profitability in potato farming. The Netherlands and Belgium report uncertain harvests, while North Germany sees high potato prices. France’s demand surpasses supply, leading to Spanish potato imports. The UK’s potato sector improves, but inflation affects profits. Scotland’s conditions are positive, but Brexit impacts seed growers. Spain’s early harvest benefits from European demand, while North America anticipates a good crop.

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