Latest potato news from around the World

Family with deep Idaho roots creates ‘Real Idaho Potato Chips’

It’s no secret Idaho is known for its potatoes, but when it comes to potato chips, most are grown somewhere else. That’s something a Treasure Valley family decided to change, reports Karen Lehr for IdahoNews6. Brothers Marc and Kyle Nehring put their heads together a few years ago and set out to create an authentic, savory potato chip made from real Idaho potatoes. Fast forward to present day, and their Idaho “Real Potato Chips” can be found on store shelves across the Treasure Valley.

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British potato farmer stars in new ‘Map my McDonald’s’ campaign

A Suffolk farmer is at the forefront of a promotional campaign by fast food giant McDonald’s highlighting its commitment to UK produce. Andrew Francis, who runs the farm operation at the Earl of Iveagh’s Elveden Estate near Thetford and supplies the chain with potatoes – features in a new Map My McDonald’s interactive tool which allows customers to see some of its army of 23,000 British and Irish farmer suppliers.

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Potato tuber treatment – specialist advice

Appropriate tuber treatment is an essential step in developing healthy and abundant harvests, according to potato specialists at AHDB in the UK. In a recent news article, AHDB says the cost of growing potatoes is likely to increase in the following years as a result of replacing lost chemicals; potential losses due to diseases must be avoided whenever possible through application of the correct treatment, starting with the seed. As this is a complex process, AHDB says potato seed producers, traders and end users are encouraged to seek information regarding the correct treatment procedure, such as the best time to apply the chemicals or the stage of the skin set.

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HZPC potato breeding company says it ‘closes eventful year with a healthy result’

The 2019/2020 financial year has been eventful in many respects for HZPC, the company says in a press release issued earlier today. HZPC says that despite the consequences of COVID-19, the company has had an operationally successful season. The coming season, however, may well be more of a challenge, HZPC says. The potato breeder says it is on the cusp of a season which encompasses a huge, global economic recession.

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McCain opens ‘world class’ potato storage facility in Australia

A McCain storage facility capable of storing 11,000 tonnes of potatoes has opened at South Burnie, a locality and suburb of Burnie, in the North West region of Tasmania in Australia, according to a report by Sandy Powell for The Advocate. Sandy writes that the facility, which can hold 9,000 tonnes of potatoes in cold-storage long term, as well as a further 2,000 tonnes in short term storage, is run by McCain Foods. Plant operator Rodney Smith said the facility is truly “world-class”.

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It’s National Potato Day in Ireland!

This Friday, October 2nd, marks a very special day in Ireland. National Potato Day was created to celebrate one of the Emerald Isle’s most popular foods, writes Jack Beresford for the The Irish Post. He says it’s a chance to “indulge in one of the most versatile vegetables on the dinner plate, whether baked, fried or sautéed.” National Potato Day is the brainchild of Bord Bia, who were eager to celebrate the humble spud with a selection of recipes shared on social media, shared under the hashtag, #NationalPotatoDay campaign.

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Upcoming WPC webinar: Prof Jacquie Van Der Waals on diseases threatening sustainable potato production

The World Potato Congress is pleased to be beginning its Fall webinar series on November 12, 2020 with Professor Jacquie van der Waals from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Professor van der Waals will present – “Above and Below Ground: Diseases threatening sustainable potato production”. This presentation will discuss three important disease complexes in potatoes, namely Rhizoctoniasis, soft rot and blackleg, early blight and brown spot. For each of these disease complexes, Prof van der Waals will introduce the pathogen, give a description of symptoms, discuss the disease cycle and touch on basic management principles.

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UK: Extreme rainfall hampers Norfolk potato harvest and cereal drilling

An exceptionally wet start to the autumn has bogged down farming operations across Norfolk – and prompted concerns over potato crops in sodden fields, according to a report by Chris Hill, published in Eastern Daily Press. Nick Hood, of Heath Farm in Woodbastwick, recorded 129mm of rain in September, saying “From a farming perspective it is a critical time of year for lifting potatoes and establishing winter wheat and winter barley. We have not drilled anything for a week and lifted very few potatoes and it has put a lot of water into the ground…

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Red River Valley expects nice potato crop

“The weather has been perfect since the heavy rains fell in late June,” Ted Kreis said in mid-September. “I think we’ll have a nice crop.” Tad Thompson reports in an article published by The Produce News, that Kreis, who is the marketing director of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, added that in the Red River Valley, “the crop is coming along very well. We had some losses in late June with heavy rain. We thought we lost 10- to 15-percent of the crop at that time. We have possibly recovered some of that through plant recovery and higher yields. So overall, it looks like an average-sized crop,” he said.

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Ireland: Potato crop yields well below average

According to this week’s Potato Market Update from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), although weather conditions have improved, growers are facing additional setbacks due to reduced yields and skin set issues. Reports from growers suggest that main-crop yields are well below average this year. Poor skin set appears to be a problem for a lot of growers and some growers have halted liftings due to this problem.

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Idaho Potato Commission’s “Ask Dr. Potato” fast becoming the most referenced online resource

Forgot how long it takes to bake a potato or if spuds should be stored in the refrigerator? Answers to these questions and hundreds more can easily be found at Dr. Potato on the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) website. “Dr. Potato was born because we were receiving hundreds of questions about potatoes from consumers and foodservice operators. Since many of the questions were recurring, we thought it would be most efficient to post them online so folks could access them immediately and at any time of day,” explained Frank Muir, President & CEO, IPC.

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Postponed: World Potato Congress and Europatat events in Ireland postponed to 2022 due to pandemic crisis

Due to the pandemic and for the safety of participants, it is with great reluctance that the three organisations World Potato Congress Inc., Europatat and the Irish Potato Federation, jointly announce today the postponement of the World Potato Congress (WPC) and the Europatat Congress planned for May/June in Dublin in 2021. Originally scheduled for 31st May – 3rd June 2021, the WPC will now take place on 30th May – 2nd June 2022. As previously planned, the WPC will be preceded by the Europatat Congress – which will take place from 29th- 30th May 2022.

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McCain Foods resumes $300 million plant expansion in Washington State

McCain Foods will resume construction this month of a $300 million expansion at its french fry plant in Othello, Wash., the company announced, according to a report by Matthew Weaver, Field Reporter for Capital Press in Spokane, Washington State in the US in this article. “We are excited to resume construction on the 170,000 square-foot expansion of the Othello plant, where McCain Foods has operated for over 31 years,” Paolo Picchi, regional president, said in a company press release. “This expansion will increase production capacity through the addition of a new state-of-the art french fry processing line, bring new jobs to the community and require approximately 11,000 additional acres, sourced from local potato growers in the region.”

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Ireland: End of the road for diquat on potato farms

Irish potato growers have been handed a minor reprieve from the EU’s campaign to reduce use of pesticides by 50%. Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue has granted a temporary, once-off and short term emergency authorisation for diquat, writes Stephen Cadogan in a report for the Irish Examinar. He writes that diquat has been the most commonly used desiccant in the potato sector for many decades. It is no longer approved for use as a plant protection product within the EU, he says. However, to facilitate industry transition and to support growers as they move to other methods of dessicating potato crops, Minister McConalogue granted a derogation.

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Hold on to your wallet, guys: The world’s most expensive potato chips will run you $15 a chip

The Swedish brewery St. Eriks has a unique set of potato chips that are — as far as we know — the most expensive potato chip in the world. The chips were created to draw attention for charity donations, Moss and Fog reports. A bag of potato chips is one of the cheapest snacks you can buy. Unless you opted for the extremely limited edition set of chips from Swedish Brewery St. Eriks, boxed in an absurdly fancy package, made from absurdly special ingredients.

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UK: Improved ‘Safe Haven’ standards provide added protection for British seed potato exports

The certification scheme, ‘Safe Haven’, has recently been reviewed and updated to cover areas such as closer monitoring of water use and crop storage, AHDB says in a news release published yesterday. Administered by Red Tractor, the UK’s largest food standards scheme, Safe Haven protects against any pest or disease that can be imported or introduced by seed, AHDB says. The seed potato sector is important for the British potato industry as a whole as seed potatoes are a valuable export commodity.

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Aussies ‘up in arms’: Tasmanian supermarkets will not stock imported potatoes

Tasmanian supermarkets have thrown support behind the state’s potato producers, confirming they will not stock imported potatoes, according to a report by Caitlin Jarvis published by The Examiner in Australia. Caitlin reports that a conditional import licence was approved in June for South Australian company Mitolo Group to import fresh potatoes into Tasmania. However, the products will not end up on supermarket shelves. Coles, Woolworths, and Island Fresh, which operates the IGA chain of independent supermarkets, on Monday confirmed they would not stock the imported SA potatoes in Tasmania.

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Red hot potato market could spell trouble for farmers in India

Potato prices in India started rising in December 2019 due to the delay in harvesting the early rabi crop, according to an article by Samarendu Mohanty, Asia Regional Director of the International Potato Center (CIP). In a recent news article published on the CIP website, Mr Mohanty wtires that although prices fell a bit in February and March with the arrival of the new harvest, they have remained higher than average during the same period in previous years due to less area planted, lower yields and transportation issues.

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Study shows more US households are purchasing potatoes

Fresh potato sales increased significantly from July 2019 through June 2020, and so did the number of households buying potatoes, according to a news release issued by Potatoes USA. The organization says eighty-eight percent of households purchased potatoes on an average of 10 times during the 52-week period. This was a significant increase for fresh potatoes, which are already a staple item in households. During 2019, consumers purchased fresh potatoes, on average, seven times in 83% of households. Potatoes continued to be bought most often with bread, milk, eggs, onions, and other staple household items.

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Marilyn Monroe once modeled an Idaho potato sack dress…

“Did you know that iconic film star Marilyn Monroe once modeled a dress made from a potato sack promoting the city of Twin Falls? What’s even more astonishing is the fact that she still looked incredible wearing a potato sack,” writes Greg Jannetta in a piece published by Fox News radio. Jannetta writes that he came to find out that legendary movie actress Marilyn Monroe had a few things in common with the state of Idaho. “It turns out not only did she leave an Idaho mark on the modeling industry, but she also starred in a 1956 film that was shot just 80 miles north of Twin Falls.”

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Potato Expo 2021 to be a ‘hybrid’ event

Potato Expo 2021 will be a hybrid event, offering both a live, in-person as well as a virtual experience, the organizers say on the event’s website. “In light of COVID-19, we knew that the Potato Expo had to change,” the organizers say. “We’ve reimagined its design and delivery so it can still be the place where the potato community can come together over potatoes.” The potato community is invited to attend the event in Grapevine, Texas on January 6-7.

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Idaho potato harvest going strong

Idaho farmers are hoping this year’s potato harvest will be better than last year. A manager at Wilcox Fresh potato company says this year we are seeing a good start to the harvest season. Farmers are crossing their fingers that the weather will continue to cooperate and avoid a repeat of last year. 2019’s potato harvest was hit with frost that stopped spud companies in their tracks and caused extensive crop damage.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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