Latest news stories from around the World

National Potato Council announces 2024 leadership: Environmental advocate Bob Mattive takes the helm

Bob Mattive was elected President of the National Potato Council at the annual Washington Summit. Mattive, a Coloradan farmer and former NPC Vice President, will lead the council dedicated to the interests of potato growers. With his extensive committee experience and commitment to environmental stewardship, he aims to work together for the industry’s advancement. The full executive committee was also installed, with NPC serving as the voice for U.S. growers in policy and regulatory matters.

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Rising prices and tightening stocks: Ireland’s potato situation echoes across the UK and Europe

Ireland’s potato industry is grappling with dwindling stocks and empty grower stores, as highlighted by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA). Difficult harvesting has led to clay-contaminated potato boxes, reducing saleable yields and pushing up prices. This trend is echoed across Europe, with rising processing potato prices and cautious market responses. The U.K.’s planting delays may further strain the tight potato supply and inflate prices, affecting everyone from farmers to consumers.

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Michigan State University scientists cracking the code to a healthier potato chip

Michigan State University scientists made a discovery revealing the genetics behind cold-stored potatoes darkening and health risks. Published in The Plant Cell, the research could lead to new potato varieties resistant to cold-induced sweetening (CIS), reducing harmful acrylamide production during processing. This advancement is crucial for the U.S. snack industry, including Michigan’s $240 million potato market, as it could ensure a consistent supply of fresh potatoes year-round while enhancing chips and fries quality.

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A-INSIGHTS hosts exclusive webinar: Exploring ‘Trends of the Frozen Potato Industry’

A-INSIGHTS announces a free webinar on March 28th, focusing on the frozen potato industry’s trends and forecasts. Analyst Mathieu Geuskens will explore 2023 supply-demand, 5-year projections, local initiatives’ effects, and sustainability practices. The online event aims to transform public data into growth opportunities for food businesses. Register to learn from A-INSIGHTS, a firm with over 15 years of sector experience.

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Elea to unveil its latest food technology at ANUGA FOODTEC 2024 event

At ANUGA FOODTEC 2024 in Cologne, Elea will exhibit its innovative Pulsed Electric Field systems, including the PEFPilot Dual and the new PEF Advantage B1. These systems enhance food quality, yield, and processing efficiency while conserving energy. Attendees can witness live demonstrations and sample PEF-treated products at Elea’s booth in hall 10.1, further underscoring the event’s role in showcasing advanced food processing technologies.

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GRIMME’s 2024 lineup: Upgraded receiving hoppers that maximize efficiency and crop protection

GRIMME introduces their updated RH series hoppers for 2024, featuring advancements in capacity, crop protection, and convenience. The improved design allows variable hopper floor speed, better handling, and innovative protection features like “Capacity Control” and “Remain Control”. Enhanced soil cleaning functions and user-friendly operation are facilitated by the IBX 300 ISOBUS unit. The range includes the high-throughput RH 28 and the versatile RH 24 XT for potatoes.

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Innovative crop analysis tool HarvestEye secures key distributor in Finland for potato and onion markets

HarvestEye, a machine-learning crop insight tool, has appointed Antti Hintikka of U2 Online Oy as its distributor in Finland for its HarvestEye 2.0 and handheld systems. These systems improve crop data collection and are now integrated into Finland’s potato and onion markets, providing growth opportunities and technological advancements for local agricultural practices. Antti’s collaboration with HarvestEye will enhance precision agriculture and optimize crop management through valuable data insights.

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James Hutton Institute spearheads global food security with new National Potato Innovation Centre

The James Hutton Institute plans to establish the National Potato Innovation Centre to bolster food security, focusing on potatoes’ role in global strategies. The NPIC will utilize a new glasshouse complex to breed potato varieties suited to warmer, sustainable environments. With a reputation in potato science and a history of R&D success, the institute’s facility, housing the Commonwealth Potato Collection, aims to promote drought tolerance and disease resistance in potatoes, thereby future-proofing the UK industry.

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Innovative Dutch-Ukrainian project to rebuild potato farming industry amidst conflict

Ukraine’s potato market has declined due to war, increased costs, and climate pressures. Agrico’s “Rebuilding Potato Ukraine” project, funded by the Netherlands, aims to revive the industry with a Climate Smart Potato Demo Center, focusing on production and education for 3,000 farmers, 60% women. It promises to bolster local food security by facilitating an annual production of 53 million kg of potatoes and supports several Sustainable Development Goals while navigating war-related risks.

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Syngenta’s ‘Vixeran’: Revolutionizing crop nutrition with high-efficiency nitrogen fixation

Vixeran, with its nitrogen-fixing bacteria, offers a sustainable alternative to traditional N fertilisers, potentially reducing application needs by up to 30 kgN/ha. Neil Procter and Andy Cunningham from Syngenta emphasise its energy savings, crop yield increase over 10%, and suitability for varied weather conditions. Ideal for regenerative practices, Vixeran enhances soil health and supports efficient, sustainable crop production. Trials show compatibility with other treatments and significant yield benefits in various crops.

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From potatoes to premium products: Pulsemaster leads the charge in food processing innovation

Pulsemaster has launched a new industrial-scale pulsed electric field system, capable of processing up to 10 tons of food per hour. This technology enhances efficiency, taste, and nutritional value in food processing, particularly potatoes, reducing waste and oil uptake. It also supports sustainability by lowering energy and water use, aligning with global trends. Pulsemaster is set to showcase this breakthrough at Anuga FoodTec 2024, demonstrating its commitment to innovation and sustainability in the food industry.

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Farmers’ protests in Europe and the dead-end of neoliberalism

At the WTO’s 13th ministerial conference in Abu Dhabi, members of the European Coordination Via Campesina protested against neoliberal agricultural policies. Highlighting a direct link to the impoverishment of farmers across Europe, they voiced frustration over decades of unfair policies that have increased production costs, stagnated farmer wages, and led to significant personal debts among farmers, despite their efforts to increase production. The ongoing farmer protests in Europe demonstrate the dire situation and demand for change.

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‘The golden crop’: New report details how the U.S. potato industry bolsters the economy and job market

The National Potato Council’s report, prepared by Michigan State University economists, highlights the significant economic role of the U.S. potato industry, worth $100.9 billion. With $2.2 billion in exports from July 2022 to June 2023, accounting for 20% of U.S. potato production, these exports underpin substantial domestic activity and jobs—nearly $4.78 billion in economic contribution and about 33,846 jobs. The potato industry at large supports over 714,000 jobs across the nation.

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Albert Bartlett to develop new potato varieties to replace Maris Piper

UK potato supplier Albert Bartlett plans to develop alternative potato varieties due to the Maris Piper’s challenges, amidst rising costs and erratic yields from extreme weather. Issues with floods, droughts, and increased energy and fertilizer prices have impacted production. Varieties like King Edwards and Maris Peer, though popular, are difficult and costly to grow. With profit margins thinning, an agronomy team is focusing on climate-resilient alternatives.

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Angry French farmers drive their tractors into Paris in fresh protests

In Paris, dozens of tractors, organized by Rural Coordination, a farmers’ union, peacefully entered a western neighborhood, showcasing their protest with a backdrop of the Eiffel Tower. This follows their earlier roadblocks around Paris, lifted after the government’s €400 million offer to address issues like low earnings and strict regulations. Their recent actions on highways around Paris reflect a wider European agricultural protest against EU policies and challenging business conditions, emphasizing the crisis in agriculture.

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Crop.zone announces advanced potato desiccation applicators for 2024 growing season

As the 2024 growing season nears, Crop.zone invites agri-professionals to its field days, featuring the new potato desiccation applicators—an innovative solution promising 25% increased efficiency and one-pass desiccation. This German-engineered technology facilitates optimal harvesting, operates at high speeds, adheres to organic standards, and has been recognized as a leading European innovation. Attendees can arrange personal meetings with experts by registering online for the event.

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Potato Storage Insight’s latest bulletin highlights seasonal storage struggles and potato industry developments

The latest Potato Storage Insight bulletin highlights weather-related challenges affecting potato planting schedules and storage. With stocks depleting early, a potential shortage is anticipated in late spring to early summer. It also focuses on maintaining storage quality for the season’s remainder. The sold-out Store Managers’ Course and consultations for a proposed National Potato Innovation Centre signify proactive industry measures. For more information, subscriptions to Synopsis are available.

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Canada: The Little Potato Company expanding to produce more ready-to-cook spuds

The Little Potato Company is investing $39.5 million in a new facility in Nisku, Alberta, aiming to double its processing capacity for seasoned, ready-to-cook potatoes. The Alberta government’s Agri-Processing Investment Tax Credit is facilitating this expansion. Alberta leads in potato production, significantly impacting the economy. The new plant will process 125 million pounds annually, with most products destined for the U.S. market.

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The great potato leap: Unveiling the economic power of U.S. potato trade expansion

On February 26, 2024, the National Potato Council will host a roundtable to discuss a report by Michigan State economists on the U.S. potato industry. The report predicts a $1 billion GDP increase and thousands of new jobs from expanded potato exports. Key figures from the council will speak and answer media questions. The findings could position the U.S. as a significant global agricultural player and strengthen international trade relationships.

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Pulsemaster’s groundbreaking innovations in PEF technology set to shine at Anuga FoodTec 2024

Pulsemaster will showcase its latest pulsed electric field (PEF) technology at Anuga FoodTec 2024 from March 19-22 in Cologne, Germany. Managing Director Mark de Boevere will present their new PEF-system for big raw-peeled potatoes, vital for french fries and potato chip quality enhancement. With a focus on the booming healthy snacks market, they’re also developing PEF for dehydrated fruits and vegetables. Pulsemaster’s innovation aligns with clean food trends and has garnered international interest.

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Royal recognition: Princess Anne tours award-winning Haith Group in South Yorkshire

On February 21st, HRH The Princess Royal visited Haith Group, a top UK vegetable machinery firm in South Yorkshire. Observing their acclaimed machinery and touring the facilities, she gained insights into their award-winning innovations like the Rota-Tip box tippler and Root Veg Polisher. Her Royal Highness unveiled a commemorative plaque and engaged with the Haith family and staff. Haith, founded in 1947, employs over 120 people and is essential to global food producers.

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Michigan’s mighty spuds: A $2.5 billion boost to state economy and job market

Michigan’s potato industry generates over $2.5 billion for the state’s GDP and supports roughly 21,700 jobs, solidifying its status as an economic powerhouse and the second-largest commodity in Michigan, behind apples. A Michigan State University study highlights its significance, with Michigan being the national leader in chipping potatoes, supplying one-fourth of U.S. potato chips.

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Kiremko peels away limitations at Anuga FoodTec: Innovation, sustainability, and your future processing success

Kiremko is set to impress at Anuga FoodTec 2024 with their complete turnkey potato processing solutions, emphasizing sustainability with their “Less is More” approach. As global leaders and partners with Idaho Steel, they offer optimization from peeling to final product. Discover their eco-friendly, innovative equipment and strategic partnership opportunities at their booth in Cologne, Germany, or online.

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Navigating water scarcity: The promise of drip irrigation for sustainable potato farming

The CHIPS Nov-Dec 2023 issue features an article by Lukie Pieterse on using drip irrigation in water-scarce potato farming. Highlighting the technique’s efficiency in water and nutrient delivery, it offers potential for higher yields and quality produce. Despite higher initial costs, long-term benefits include savings and better production. Challenges like system clogging and soil salinity are noted. The article advocates for farmer education, government support, and technological advances to optimize drip irrigation for potato production.

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New biological foliar treatment to boost nutrient use efficiency, boost crop yields

British farmers are set to gain from the new TARBIS foliar treatment, which enhances nutrient efficiency and crop yields while reducing dependency on synthetic fertilisers. Industry-tested and approved for organic systems, TARBIS, developed by Unium Bioscience, helps plants fix and uptake various nutrients and withstand stresses like drought. Effective in any climate, it could significantly cut fertiliser costs and benefit the environment.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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