Latest potato news from around the World

Canada: COVID-19 cases identified at a Simplot potato processing plant

Two employees at a potato processing in Portage la Prairie in Canada’s Manitoba province have tested positive for COVID-19, and 14 are in self-quarantine. On Thursday evening, J.R. Simplot confirmed employees had tested positive for COVID-19 within the Portage la Prairie plant. Josh Jordan, the manager of communications and public relations for Simplot, said the company was notified on Monday that one employee tested positive. He said 12 other employees who had been in contact with the person either in or outside of work, had been identified and tested.

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Young Farmer Podcast: Brandon and Ashley Bonk try new things to diversify and become more efficient

When Brandon and Ashley Bonk see an opportunity to grow their business, they take it. From 2007 to now, they’ve grown their farm in Magnolia, Del., from nothing to 5,500 acres. And while their focus is mostly on corn, soybeans and wheat, potatoes are becoming a bigger part of the business. “Sometimes you gotta stick your neck out and try something nobody else is doing. It’s a measure of risk I guess,” says Brandon, who started the farm with Ashley after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in ag systems technology.

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Canada’s Alberta potato growers concerned as 2020 harvest gets underway

While the 2020 potato harvest is well underway in southern Alberta, the Potato Growers of Alberta say lingering concerns about global french fry markets due to COVID-19 is putting a bit of a damper on an otherwise joyful time of year for local potato farmers. “The 2019 crop is now complete and done,” says PGA executive director Terence Hochstein. “It has been processed. But due to the COVID situation, not only here in Canada but also in the U.S. and globally, there is no guarantee what we put in the shed this year will be used completely.

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World Potato Congress Inc recognizes Zaotong as ‘Potato Plateau Seed Potato Capital of the World’

On August 18, 2020, a meeting was held in Zhaotong city, China. World Potato Congress (WPC) President Roman Cools, Dr. Peter VanderZaag, WPC Secretary and Brian Douglas, General Manager attended virtually. At this meeting, a ceremony was held to recognize Zhaotong as the “Potato Plateau Seed Potato Capital of the World”. Yang Yalin, Party Secretary of the Zhaotong Municipal CPC Committee spoke at the ceremony. Li Zhiping, Deputy Director of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs also attended the ceremony.

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Hot potatoes: Potato varieties suited for climate change

With climate change heating up Canada’s crop land, identifying or developing new potato varieties that can grow in warmer temperatures is on the radar of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers. Xiu-Qing Li of AAFC in Fredericton noticed that warmer summers are creating heat stress in Canadian potato crops. He began studying Canada’s current varieties to see which are the most heat-tolerant. He also hopes to identify the genes responsible for heat tolerance and to incorporate them into future varieties, either through genetic crosses or directional mutation.

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Water already dwindling, Egypt’s farmers fear impact of dam

Years of mismanagement, corruption and increasing population led to the loss of at least 75% of farmland in Second Village in Egypt and the surrounding areas, according to Abdel-Fattah el-Aweidi, head of Gazaer Qouta Agriculture Association, overseeing the area. Now, it is feared that a dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, the Nile’s main tributary, could add to the severe water shortages already hitting farmers severely if no deal is struck to ensure a continued flow of water.

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How to make a potato store more efficient and get better sprout control

A well-sealed store will decrease your energy bills, and increase the efficiency on sprout suppressants like ethylene and spearmint oil. In this article, Adrian Cunnington, Head of Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research at AHDB Potatoes shares some tips for assessing and improving your potato store. The loss of approval of CIPC will inevitably mandate change within the potato industry. For many it may mean using alternative sprout suppressants. Others may choose to go chemical-free, moving to varieties with a longer dormancy period, or by storing at lower temperatures. For all though, optimising storage conditions and reducing operating costs are likely to be high priorities.

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UPGC report: Drought conditions in Eastern Canada; crop behind schedule in Western Canada

United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) issued its latest crop update report today. General Manager, Kevin MacIsaac says at press time parts of Eastern Canada are facing moderate to severe drought conditions. Rainfall is critical for this crop. In Western Canada, the crop is running behind schedule as processors push to get new crop harvest underway. Prairie yields currently look average at best, MacIsaac reports.

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Burn down options: Attention to detail essential for successful potato desiccation

Following the withdrawal of the substance from the market in 2019 and a final use up date of February 4, 2020, for stocks left in store, Leigh McClean Development Adviser at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) advises Northern Ireland potato growers to consider alternative options for burn down this season. “Chemical alternatives still exist in the form of a group of herbicides called PPO inhibitors of which there are two products, Spotlight Plus (Carfentrazone) and Gozai (Pyraflufen-ethyl) registered for use in potatoes,” he said.

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Efforts to save East Africa’s potatoes from potato cyst nematodes

Scientists at CGIAR-IITA, working with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) (under the joint Nematology Unit, NemAfrica, based in Nairobi), and their national and international partners have been at the forefront of efforts to address a new emerging pest threat to the production of potato in the East Africa region: potato cyst nematodes (PCN), These destructive pests can cause yield losses of up to 80%, and in some instances, even total crop failure, reports Kilimo News in a recent article.

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Breakthrough in soil analysis: ‘A library for understanding the soils of the world’

A breakthrough in how soils are analyzed, known as soil spectroscopy, is equipping both farmers and government decision-makers with a new tool in combatting land degradation and improving farmers’ crop yields and income. Soil spectroscopy analysis has proven to be faster, cheaper and more precise than conventional testing, giving agricultural producers at all scales vital information on how to improve their soils, in turn boosting crop yields and food production. The technology uses infrared electromagnetic radiation to measure how much energy the soil surface reflects at specific wavelengths, providing what scientists call a spectral signature.

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A third of U.S.-grown potatoes become frozen french fries, used mostly by food service

A little more than one-third of all potatoes grown in the United States are manufactured into frozen products, 85 percent of which are french fries, according to report by the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS). Spurred by decades of explosive growth within the quick service restaurant industry (QSRs), processed potato products, which include frozen, chipped, dehydrated, and canned, became the major movers in the potato market, led by frozen french fries. The vast majority move through various food service venues or the export market.

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RPE to bring the new Golden Red premium potato variety to consumers this fall

Wisconsin-based RPE, Inc. — a full service grower, shipper, marketer of fresh potatoes — announced today that it is bringing a new, premium red potato variety to potato consumers this fall. “RPE Golden Red™ premium potatoes are the new gold standard in red potatoes,” said Tim Huffcutt, Vice President Sales and Marketing Operations for RPE. “Compared to common red potatoes, these superior stunners have a vibrant red skin with a rich, yellow interior and a sweet, creamy taste.”

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Ireland: Quieter potato market; cheap UK imports undermine prices

According to the weekly Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Potato Market Report, the potato market has been quieter as of late but this is typical for the time of year. Demand will return to normal as we approach September. The fresh chip market in the U.K.is still below par due to the impact of Covid 19. This has also impacted the market in Ireland due to cheap UK imports and a weaker sterling which are undermining local grower prices.

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New study on measuring efficiency in potato landraces: How far are we from the optimum?

A new publication by scientists from the International Potato Center (CIP) highlights the usefulness of combining crop growth model, remote sensing, and plant ecophysiological tools to assess genetic efficiencies in potato landraces. In order to improve potato yield and yield prediction, a better understanding of potato physiology and modeling is needed, especially for the Andean region where climate change is affecting traditional farming practices and where potato is a staple food.

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Senators call for USMCA enforcement action on potato exports to Mexico

Three Republican senators are calling on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to use “all available mechanisms,” including U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement provisions, to ensure market access for U.S. potatoes in Mexico, according to a report published by World Trade Online. While the Mexican government in 2014 allowed some U.S. potatoes to be sold throughout the country, the decision has since been mired in litigation, which is awaiting a ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court.

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Some potato stories: A multiple tale of “anti-GMO” detrimental nonsense

The expression “genetically modified organisms” (“GMOs”) is not only void of scientific value, but has negative effects on agricultural progress and food policy, writes Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue in this article published by European Scientist. According to Tagliabue, “Anti-GMOers” show a “peculiar, recurrent absence of logic when they demonize “GMOs” as a supposed whole… Tagliabue then cite examples from the US, the UK and the European Union to back up his argument, saying that “These stories have surely shown that “GMO(s)” is a misleading notion, a damaging meme that should dissolve: in time, it will be considered a subject as interesting as the sex of angels used to be.”

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Podcast: ‘The rightful place of potatoes in the 2020-2025 dietary guidelines for Americans’

In this edition of the Eye on Potatoes podcast, NPC President Britt Raybould calls in from Idaho to talk about the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), which are currently being drafted by USDA and U.S. Health and Human Services, as well as NPC’s efforts to advocate for the inclusion of potatoes in all forms in the recommendations. It is anticipated that the final DGAs will be published before the end of 2020.

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‘All hail the rise of the climate-smart potato’

The potential of the potato has only just begun to be realized, writes
Sandra Cordon in this article published by Landscape News. Some 368 million metric tons of potatoes were harvested globally in 2019, as people from Vietnam to Kenya, the Peruvian Andes to Rwanda produced a wide variety of the root vegetable, helping feed an estimated 1.3 billion people who rely on them as a staple food. And this is a minimum threshold – potato production is expanding across parts of Africa and Asia.

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Analysis: The global potato market hits record highs

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Potato – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. The editors at IndexBox published an article in which a summary of the report’s key findings is provided. Below is an except of some of the highlights. In 2019, the global potato market increased by 6% to $140.5B, rising for the third consecutive year after two years of decline. The market value increased at an average annual rate of +3.0% from 2007 to 2019. Over the period under review, the global market hits record highs in 2019 and is expected to retain growth in years to come.

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San Luis Valley potato growers optimistic for harvest

Despite 2020 being a difficult year in many respects, San Luis Valley potato growers have been able to raise a very good looking crop this season. The warmer than normal weather being one of the reasons for the healthy fields. “It’s been dry but irrigation supplies have held up pretty well. We did have a frost, it affected a few fields the first of July but I think the impact has been somewhat minimal,” said James Ehrlich who is the Executive Director for the Colorado Potato Administration Committee.

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Nutritious and satisfying: Potatoes USA explains the versatile potato

With consumer demand increasing for plant-based menu options, now is the time to put more spuds on your menu. Potatoes are a staple in nearly every cultural cuisine, so they’re uniquely suited to deliver today’s most craved global flavours, says Potatoes USA in this article prepared by Caterer Middle East staff. Being naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low in sodium, this makes potatoes the perfect product for a healthy diet.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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