Monday 6th February saw the first board meeting of GB Potatoes (GBP). “GBP has the opportunity to raise political awareness in a way no other existing body can do today,” said inaugural Chair Mark Taylor. “We must make the voice of the potato sector heard. We are not just facing a ‘single issue’ but an increasingly long list of pressures…”
Latest news stories from around the World
Lamb Weston named ‘Bull of the Day’ by investment research firm
Zacks Investment Research calls Lamb Weston Holdings Inc. its “Bull of the Day” for today, February 9, 2023. Zacks author Ben Rains writes: “It is far from a flashy business, but Lamb Weston plays a crucial role in providing one of the most popular food items out there right now and for years to come. The company also has tons of pricing power, which we will see shortly.”
World Potato Congress Inc congratulates new Director General of CIP
The World Potato Congress Inc.’s (WPC) Board of Directors congratulates Dr. Simon Heck on being chosen as the next Director General of the International Potato Center (CIP). Dr. Peter VanderZaag, WPC President, looks forward to working closely with Dr. Simon Heck. “Both the World Potato Congress Board of Directors and the global team under the direction of Dr. Heck have similar missions as we fulfill objectives designed to improve global food security.”
CIP and CGIAR appoint Dr. Simon Heck as Director General and CGIAR Senior Director
The International Potato Center (CIP) Board of Trustees and CGIAR leadership have appointed Dr. Simon Heck as Director General of CIP and CGIAR Senior Director. Dr. Heck is widely recognized as a leader of successful international multi-stakeholder research-for-development programs focused on improving food and nutrition security, breeding climate-smart crops, and fostering inclusive value chains.
A fossil fruit from California shows ancestors of potatoes survived cataclysm that killed the dinosaurs
The discovery of an 80-million-year-old fossil plant pushes back the known origins of lamiids to the Cretaceous period, extending the record of nearly 40,000 species of flowering plants including modern-day staple crops like potatoes, coffee, tomatoes and mint, according to a news release by the University of Kansas.
Famed Mikesell’s potato chip company ending 110-plus years of business
Mikesell’s, a historic Dayton, Ohio maker of potato chips and snack foods that has been operating since 1910, is going out of business. As Thomas Gnau reports for Dayton Daily News, the company announced last week that it hopes to sell its brand and intellectual property rights to another snack food manufacturer to potentially continue the Mikesell’s brand.
Report: Agtech start-ups need to address farmers’ challenges about agtech solutions
Agriculture tech can drive more inclusive and sustainable growth for farmers, but only if agtech start-ups make a concerted effort to address farmers’ persistent challenges about agtech solutions, according to research by leading global consultancy, McKinsey & Company. The latest report from McKinsey’s Agriculture practice, Agtech: Breaking down the farmer adoption dilemma, identifies the barriers holding farmers back from using agtech more widely.
TOMRA Food appoints new Regional Sales Director for North America
TOMRA Food continues to strengthen its commitment to support and deliver cutting-edge solutions to customers across the USA and Canada by appointing Sean Slevin as Regional Sales Director of TOMRA Processed Food, part of TOMRA Food, in North America. Sean is a 17-year veteran of TOMRA Food and the food sector, having held roles across Europe and Asia.
UK: Suffolk’s potato sector shrinks as farmers’ costs rise
Suffolk’s potato growers are in the grip of a crisis of confidence as prices fail to keep pace with the costs they face, as Sarah Chambers reports for eadt.co.uk. Many are choosing to cut their growing areas as market forces combined with disease and weather risks make the crop less viable. “It’s not fun at the moment,” he admitted.
Solynta and FreshCrop sign hybrid potato collaboration agreement in Kenya
Solynta, hybrid potato breeding technology company from The Netherlands and FreshCrop Limited, Kenya’s largest producer of seed tubers, have signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of hybrid true potato innovation in Kenya. By joining forces, the companies will work closely to facilitate future introduction of high quality hybrid potato seed tubers produced from hybrid true potato seeds.
U.S. potato retail sales on the rise: Dollar sales increase 17.2% in Q4 2022
Potato retail sales increased in dollar sales by 17.2% but decreased in volume sales by -1.3% from October – December 2022 compared to the same timeframe a year ago. Despite a slight decrease in volume sales, volume sales remain above pre-pandemic levels, according to a report by Potatoes USA. All categories of potatoes increased in dollar sales, with the most significant occurring for frozen potatoes by 33.1%, followed by fresh potato sales at 20% and instant potatoes at 14.5%.
Agritech innovator to unveil new iteration of crop insights tool
HarvestEye is set to launch the newest version of its industry leading machine-learning driven root crops insights tool at Fruit Logistica, the world’s largest fresh produce trade fair. Fitting to harvesting or grading equipment, HarvestEye is a low-cost method to deliver performance data on the size, shape, quality and mapping variability of root crops, which is currently compatible with potatoes and onions.
Very cold in eastern Canada
Dear folks in the warmer parts of the world, please spare a bit of thought for us folks here on the east coast of Canada? My app tells me that right now that it feels like minus 52 degrees outside… A little cool, even by Canadian standards right?
Canadian company solving nutrient management problems for potato growers
The Leaf Evaluated-Nutrient System (LENS) from Picketa is the first step in the company’s quest to solve nutrient management problems for potato growers through the increasing supply chain and climate challenges. Over the last year, Picketa staff have worked on developing the LENS management system. The LENS system launched a month ago, on November 15th, marking almost two years of scientific research and development.
IFA: Food service to see increased business in Ireland, EU potato sales to the UK up
Retail sales remain unchanged this week in Ireland, the food service sector should see some increased business with the bank holiday weekend. In Europe, fresh markets are reported to be flat but there is good export movement. Sales of product from the E.U. to the U.K were 818,418 tonnes and up 13.2% in the year to October 2022.
Climate mapping helps Maine seed potatoes travel thousands of miles
It’s common for farmers to study climatological patterns for planting and harvesting. But as one of the only mail-order seed potato shippers in the country that ships 10 months a year, Wood Prairie Family Farm in Maine has to plot the weather to stay in business. The direct mail order farm ships about 150,000 to 200,000 pounds of certified organic seed potatoes per year.
Oh no… Australia has been hit by a serious potato shortage
Ah, the humble spud. Whether it’s turned into a crispy and delicious chip smothered in sauce or is mashed, fried, roasted or crisped up into a potato cake, the starchy vegetable is one of those things that makes life bearable, write Maya Skidmore and contributor Adena Maier. That’s why we hate to be the bearers of bad news: Australia is currently in the midst of a potato shortage, and its end remains unclear, they write.
Washington State potato farmers heading to the US capital for Potato Day
Potato farmers from across Washington state will travel to Olympia, Wash., to celebrate Potato Day on Feb. 21, as The Packer reports. Staff from the Washington State Potato Commission will accompany farmers to Olympia to help hand out baked potatoes with all the fixings. “The most viable voice in Olympia is a farmer,” Chris Voigt, executive director at the Washington State Potato Commission, said.
Canada: Antioxidants, a booster shot for late blight prevention in potatoes
Dr. Bourlaye Fofana is a geneticist with AAFC in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (PEI) in Canada. He studied how selenium, a micronutrient or mineral that is found in soil, water and some foods, can be boosted in foods such as potatoes, soybean and flax. Selenium is essential to the diets of humans and animals and plays a key role in our metabolism. “Selenium is also an antioxidant, similar to blueberries, which helps reduce the risk of many diseases,” he says.
‘Green chips’: McCain invests further £35m in sustainable farming in the UK
McCain has today confirmed a further £35m of investment in its supply chain, as it seeks to boost supplies of UK potatoes and bolster its regenerative farming initiatives. McCain says its indexation model for determining payments to the farmers who supply the company had resulted in a 31 per cent increase in contract pricing to “ensure its growers continue to be fairly compensated in light of soaring inflation”.
Despite challenges, spuds remain a billion-dollar business in New Zealand
Data from 2021 presented in the Potatoes New Zealand (PNZ) annual report shows minimal impact on production despite a rough couple of years. However, potato growers across the country say they have continued to navigate regional plan changes, restrictive government policies, ongoing pest challenges, weather events and rising costs of production.
The famous potato: A nutritional powerhouse and ‘kitchen hero’
It’s the New Year, which means many of us are trying to eat better, save money and find more time in our day. Cara Harbstreet, registered dietitian and intuitive eating expert, recommends a kitchen hero that’s a solution for it all: the potato… “Potatoes are America’s favorite vegetable, but they’re more than just delicious,” said Harbstreet. “They’re an affordable, nutritional powerhouse with a long shelf life and faster cook times than you think!”
CropX acquires Tule, provides new solutions for specialty crops and drip irrigation
CropX Technologies, a leader in digital solutions for agronomic farm management, announced today that it is acquiring Tule Technologies, a precision irrigation company based in California. CropX gives farmers insights and advice on irrigation based on above-ground crop sensing data and below-ground soil monitoring. This latest acquisition will enhance its AI predictions, recommendations and automations.
Scotts to showcase range of specialized equipment at Fruit Logistica event in Germany
Scotts Precision Manufacturing, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of vegetable cleaning and harvesting equipment, will attend the Fruit Logistica show in Berlin next week, 8 – 10 February. The event is expected to bring together more than 2,000 exhibitors from 87 countries. Other than the Evolution Separator, Scotts will also be revealing details on its 2023 revisions of the Microlift Pro windrower, cabbage de-leafing system and the company’s range of Trinity haulm toppers.
The surprising health benefits of potatoes, according to a dietitian
The hearty and reliable potato has been an inexpensive and beloved side dish for hundreds of years. Through the centuries, the potato has been transformed into many forms, like fries, chips, tots and mashes. And although many preparations of the spud include excess fat and sodium, the potato on its own is a nutritious and versatile vegetable, reports Natalie Rizzo for Today.com.
NEPG: Potato growers face a multitude of risks, disruptions in the industry expected in the near future
The North Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) organization says potato growers in its member countries face multiple risks and these risks seem to increase each season. Apart from uncertain and fluctuating production acreage and free-buy prices, farmers now have to include a series of “new” risks to manage. Recent developments, such as higher contract prices, could lead to profound imbalances throughout the whole of the potato sector, according to NEPG.
Major research study confirms potatoes can be part of a healthy diet
Potatoes have received a key health boost on the back of a major research project recently completed by staff at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in the United States. The study confirms that the potato is a healthy vegetable, filled with nutrients and packed with health benefits. Wilson’s Country managing director Lewis Cunningham believes the Pennington study ‘re-writes the rule book’ in terms of potatoes’ perception as part of a healthy diet.
Fungicide resistant blight strain in Europe: Syngenta advice to British growers on protecting fungicide efficacy
Reports of a single strain blight pathogen in Denmark where some samples were shown to be resistant to the highly important CAA group of blight fungicides, has reinforced advice for growers and agronomists to prevent it occurring in the UK. The strain, EU_43_A1, had been identified in Denmark for the past four seasons, but never identified among the multitude of blight clones that make up the population in the UK.
Canada: Upgraded Manitoba facility will allow for innovative potato storage research
The governments of Canada and Manitoba are investing $98,970 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to upgrade the University of Manitoba’s horticulture storage facility so it can conduct innovative potato research, federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson announced today. The upgraded facility will also align with other international research facilities and will be able to create more training and capacity-building opportunities.