Purdue University has received a $500,000 grant for its role in the AI-CLIMATE Institute, a collaboration aiming to promote environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. The university will develop instructional modules, tools for farmers and agribusiness professionals, and educational materials for diverse audiences, including K-12 students. The AI-CLIMATE Institute seeks to improve carbon accounting in farms and forests and contribute to the goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Latest news stories from around the World
Reimagining potato farming: McCain Foods’ Farm of the Future Canada shows promise after two growing seasons
McCain Foods’ Farm of the Future Canada has completed two growing seasons, demonstrating the potential of regenerative agriculture in sustainable potato farming. The farm achieved Expert level in three out of seven indicators of the McCain Foods Regenerative Agriculture Framework. Progress has been made in reducing pesticide toxicity and optimizing water use, with further plans to reduce synthetic fertilizers and incorporate precision agriculture technology. The project anticipates ongoing improvements in sustainability metrics.
Unfulfilled promises: Non-traditional crop treatments fall short in enhancing potato yield and revenue, researchers found
Researchers at Washington State University completed a research study to assess 27 non-traditional crop treatments with 32 products to determine their effects on potato growth. The research team concluded that the treatments in their study did not provide significant economic advantages over standard grower practices for potato production near Othello, WA. They say there is no compelling argument for potato growers to include these non-traditional additives in their crop management plans.
Innovative hybrid herbicide technology to be showcased during upcoming field day
Crop.zone, a leading agtech company, is inviting interested individuals to attend their field day on June 28th, 2023 in Germany to witness a demonstration of their groundbreaking hybrid herbicide technology. This revolutionary technology offers an environmentally friendly, chemical-free, and efficient alternative to traditional plant treatment systems. By merging the benefits of electrical and chemical plant control, crop.zone’s innovative technology eliminates the drawbacks associated with conventional herbicides.
Chinese scientists achieve new breakthrough in hybrid potato breeding
Chinese scientists have made a breakthrough in hybrid potato breeding using evolutionary genomics to identify deleterious mutations. This discovery may shorten the breeding process and produce better potato varieties. The researchers also developed a whole-genome prediction model, improving trait prediction accuracy by 25-45%. This breakthrough could increase potato breeding efficiency by 50% and be applied to other crops.
A peek underground: The ‘TuberScan’ transforms potato crop monitoring for farmers and agronomists with new tech
The TuberScan system, a ground-sensing technology developed by B-hive Innovations and partners, is entering its final testing phase in the UK and overseas. This innovative system uses ground penetrating radar, GPS units, and various sensors, combined with computer vision and AI, to provide detailed information on potato crop growth and performance. The system also detects where each potato has been planted, to go beyond traditional sampling methods conducted by growers.
Southern Spain braced for sharp fall in new potato production after unseasonal weather
Drought, a recent hot spell and damage caused by frosts last winter have led to a significant reduction in this season’s early new potato crop in southern Spain, as Maura Maxwell reports for Eurofruit. As harvesting gets underway in the provinces of Seville, Córdoba and Cádiz, estimates point to a fall of 25-35 per cent compared to last season.
‘Potato, could this be the future of plant-based meat?’ Royal Avebe talks potatoes on the Food Matters Live Podcast
Royal Avebe is partnering with Food Matters Live in a series of new podcast episodes about the amazing history, versatility, and untapped potential of the humble potato. The company says in a recent news release: “The potato plays a huge role in the global food industry and has been a core ingredient in many of our diets for centuries, but there’s a lot more to the potato than at first meets the eye…”
Acrylamide and human health: New pioneering study to monitor acrylamide formation in real time in crisp production
Abertay University and Taylors Snacks have partnered to enhance food safety in potato crisp production by minimizing acrylamide levels. The project, funded by Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme, aims to develop an online monitoring system for real-time acrylamide management, benefiting the entire industry as it meets European Commission benchmarks. The collaboration highlights the value of science at every stage of food production and the importance of academia and industry working together.
‘Beauty is skin deep’: Side Delights introduces new eco-friendly, budget-minded potato line
Side Delights has introduced Spuds, a new line of “less-than-perfect” potatoes aimed at value- and sustainability-conscious consumers. By offering these cosmetically imperfect yet nutritious and tasty potatoes, the company aims to combat food waste while providing cost-effective options for shoppers. Kathleen Triou, President and CEO of Fresh Solutions Network, said: “Spuds was created for environmentally conscious, food-waste-minded shoppers who understand that potatoes can still be nutritious and taste delicious even if they are cosmetically challenged.”
Redefining pest control: How IPM transforms potato farming in Australia and New Zealand
Australian entomologist Dr. Paul Horne discussed the benefits of adopting integrated pest management (IPM) practices at a Potatoes New Zealand research update meeting. He shared examples of growers who have successfully implemented IPM, reducing their reliance on chemical sprays and benefiting from biological control methods. Dr. Horne emphasized the importance of considering the impact of spraying on beneficial insects and utilizing cultural controls.
Battling potato early die complex: Michigan researchers secure USDA grant
A team of Michigan State University researchers has received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture to develop and evaluate sustainable methods of managing potato early die complex. One of the most destructive diseases, potato early die complex, can reduce yields by as much as 50%. In a recent survey of Michigan potato growers, 45% said potato early die complex was one of their top three disease concerns.
Idaho Steel to support skilled trades workforce development
Idaho Steel, an international food processing equipment manufacturer, is proud to announce its partnership with the College of Eastern Idaho to support local education and workforce development initiatives. The partnership aims to showcase the opportunities available in the skilled trades and recruit the next generation of talented professionals in the industry.
McCain Foods and NatWest join forces to support growers’ sustainable practices with new incentives
McCain Foods, the UK’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products, and NatWest, the biggest bank for business and one of the largest for the UK farming sector, have come together with an exciting new offering to reduce financial barriers for potato farmers who are transitioning to sustainable agricultural practices.
The future of agriculture in Rwanda: IoT app for potatoes promises enhanced efficiency and food security
Clemence Uwamutarambirwa, a 24-year-old trained in IoT at the Catholic University of Rwanda, developed an app that monitors soil quality, temperature, and automates irrigation using sensors in a potato greenhouse. The app aims to tackle food insecurity and boost agricultural sustainability. It features interconnected sensors for moisture, humidity, and smart irrigation, and sends data to greenhouse managers. The app also enhances security with sound and motion sensors.
PepsiCo invests into development at Bluebird chips manufacturer’s factory in New Zealand
Potato chips manufacturer Bluebird, based in New Zealand, says its parent company PepsiCo has invested over $66 million into the development of its Auckland factory, with a $26m-plus packing machine under construction. The facility that can hold up to 13,500 pallets of chips. That is Bluebird’s biggest project, and expected to be completed later this year.
Vavi: ‘Dutch nitrogen rules endangering french fry production’
The Netherlands’ nitrogen policy threatens french fry potato production according to the Potato Processing Industry (Vavi), as limits on cultivation on sandy and loess soil aim to reduce nitrogen leaching. Agriculture Minister Piet Adema has set an October 1 deadline for planting a “catch crop” to prevent leaching. Farmers who don’t comply face reduced nitrogen permits, leading to less yield and income. The policy has drawn criticism for its rigid deadline.
British potato growers warned to be on slug alert
Where crops have been planted into cloddy seedbeds, slug risk will be high and potato producers are urged to protect against the pest as soon as tubers reach golf ball size, according to a report by Farmers Guardian. John Keer of Richard Austin Agriculture says the prevalence of clod and lack of finer tilth in some situations is going to increase slug pressure.
Wet weather delays potato planting in Britain, growers risk yield loss
Wet weather has pushed potato planting more than two weeks behind schedule for many growers across the UK. Cousins Peter and Euan Grewar, who grow a huge 650ha area of potatoes in northern Scotland, are anticipating a 5-10% yield penalty as the optimum planting window closes. “With later potato planting, we expect fewer tuber numbers and yield penalties between 5-10% – going by our yield records from late-start seasons in 2012, 2016 and 2018,” says Peter.
Scottish seed potato exporters eye return to Northern Ireland and EU markets
The UK’s DEFRA has informed MP Richard Thomson that new requirements allowing quality Scottish seed potatoes back into Northern Irish markets are expected to be in place by autumn 2023. While this progress is welcomed, Scottish exporters still aim to resume exports to former EU and rest of Ireland markets, where progress remains limited. DEFRA Lord Benyon states in a letter that Following the agreement of the Windsor Framework, plants, seeds, and trees staying in the UK, including previously banned seed potatoes and other shrubs and plants, will be able to move from GB to NI as they do in the rest of the UK.
Tuber Talk: What’s in store for Canadian potato growers in 2023?
The past couple of years have been mostly good for Canadian potato growers, so how is 2023 shaping up? In this episode of the Tuber Talk podcast, Potatoes in Canada editor Derek Clouthier chats with Victoria Stamper, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, about her insights into the market and demand for the coming growing season, and some thoughts on what she sees for growers across the country in 2023.
U.S. potato industry battling viruses: Innovations for a healthier harvest show promising results
PRAC’s Potato Virus Initiative has made progress in efforts to manage potato viruses, optimizing tools for PVY testing, and identifying resistance sources against PMTV and powdery scab. The project focuses on preventing virus spread, enhancing detection methods, and discovering new resistance sources, with successful outreach efforts to share research findings nationwide.
Kenyan small-holder potato farmers to benefit from climate-smart innovations
More than 20,000 small-holder potato farmers in Kenya’s Nakuru County will benefit from several programmes aligned to climate-smart innovations and technologies to help them increase potatoes production both for domestic consumption and for export. Governor Susan Kihika said her administration was working to equip agricultural extension officers working with small holder farmers to train the farmers on modern farming practices that will mitigate against risks like drought, floods, climate-induced pests and diseases.
McCain opens Farm of the Future in South Africa to ‘boost potato cultivation’
McCain Foods Limited, one of South Africa’s leading frozen food manufacturers, has opened its Farm of the Future Africa in Lichtenburg, in the country’s North West province. This is the second of three locations planned by 2025, aimed at gaining a better understanding of regenerative agricultural practices and their impact, costs, and benefits. The initiative, called McCain’s Farms of the Future, was first launched in Canada in 2020.
Sustainable potato production the focus of new funding for Canadian researchers
Researchers from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta have been awarded nearly $250,000 through the Agriculture Funding Consortium to improve sustainable potato production by looking at ways to reduce disease in the field and in storage, and to increase production while minimizing the use of resources.