Potatoes: Going on the attack

Potatoes — which boosters describe as “America’s favorite vegetable” — are going on the offensive after years of fighting defensively. “We used to say, ‘It’s OK to eat potatoes,’” said Blair Richardson, president and CEO of Potatoes USA. The organization, formerly known as the U.S. Potato Board, is the nation’s potato marketing organization. Soon, however, his industry will begin to aggressively promote what it views as potatoes’ attractive combination of high nutritional value and affordability. Richardson spoke Wednesday at the first day of the annual two-day International Crop Expo in Grand Forks. The show features concurrent sessions in potatoes, soybeans/dry beans and small grains on both days, most led by North Dakota and Minnesota extension officials. Though potatoes are popular with consumers, they have critics, who insist that Americans should cut back on consumption. The potato industry has responded by stressing that spuds are safe to eat, Richardson said. More

Alemania: Kartoffeln, Weitere Fruchtfolge ist gefragt

Der Anbau von Kartoffeln wird eine immer größere Herausforderung – nicht nur wegen zunehmender Resistenzen, sondern auch aufgrund fehlender neuer Wirkstoffe. Beim Kartoffel-Symposium, das kürzlich in Bremen stattfand, informierte Syngenta. Der Rückblick auf die Krautfäule-Saison 2016 zeigte, dass die Bedingungen optimal für Infektionen waren. Der Boden sei nie richtig abgetrocknet, so Dr. Harry Jansing, Fachberater bei Syngenta. Daher sei der Krautfäuledruck von Mitte Mai bis Ende August durchgehend sehr hoch gewesen. Durch den fehlenden Frost seien die Infektionen bereits sehr früh erfolgt. Besonders wichtig sei es bei der Krautfäule, die Primärinfektion sofort zu erfassen. Dass sich Kartoffelanbauer von zu engen Fruchtfolgen verabschieden sollten, dafür plädierte Berater Martin Kanders von der LWK Nordrhein-Westfalen. Eine weite Fruchtfolge mit Vorfrucht Winterweizen und Ölrettich sei am besten, so Kanders.  Continue reading

Europatat: ‘Making the European Potato Trade great again!’

“Making the European Potato Trade great again! (it’s gonna be huge, it’s gonna be great, it’s true!)”Belgapom, the Belgian Potato Traders and Processors, and Europatat, the European Potato Trade Association, are pleased to confirm the dates for the annual Europatat Congress, that this year will take place in Antwerp (Belgium) from 15 to 17 June 2017, at the beautiful Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel, located in the city centre of Antwerp. Under the provocative slogan ‘Making the European Potato Trade great again! (it’s gonna be huge, it’s gonna be great, it’s true!)’, the Congress will focus on two major current issues for the potato sector: plant health and trade. Among the keynote speakers are Harry Arijs (European Commission, DG SANTE) and Cedric Porter (World Potato Markets) who will talk about the new European plant health Directive and the Brexit effect on trade respectively, and its impact on the potato sector. Further speakers will be announced soon.  Continue reading

España: Canarias plantea volver a exportar papas si a Galicia se lo permiten

Las Islas mantienen los envíos en cuarentena por la plaga de la polilla guatemalteca, que ahora afecta a los cultivos gallegos El Gobierno ultima un protocolo de actuación. La polilla guatemalteca, una plaga que afecta a las papas antiguas canarias desde hace casi veinte años, amenaza ahora los cultivos de Galicia y abre el debate sobre la medida adoptada en las Islas para controlarla: prohibir la exportación de este tubérculo. El consejero de Agricultura del Gobierno autonómico, Narvay Quintero, reveló ayer que Canarias espera a que la Unión Europea autorice el protocolo diseñado por el Ejecutivo que permita las exportaciones y, a partir de ahí, retomar los envíos al exterior. Sin embargo, Quintero cree “evidente” que “si la polilla está en Galicia y Galicia puede exportar”, el Archipiélago también podrá hacerlo. Link

Brazil imposes anti-dumping duty on frozen potato from Germany, Belgium, France and The Netherlands

Last week the Brazilian Government has decided to impose an anti-dumping duty on frozen potatoes imported from Germany, Belgium, France and The Netherlands. Brazil is an important export market for potato processors in Western Europe, so this duty can have significant economic impact for the processors. The Brazilian government started an anti-dumping investigation on the import of frozen potato products from these countries in 2015. The anti-dumping measure is a tool agreed to under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and requires a formal investigation according to a defined protocol. The investigation aims to assess if the imported products are sold at a lower price than the product price in the country of origin. Brazil started the anti-dumping investigation following a complaint by the Brazilian Potato Processing Company Bem Brazil Alimentos Ltda. More

Bovengemiddelde aardappelvoorraad in België

De Belgische aardappelvoorraad is bovengemiddeld, meldt het Proefcentrum voor de Aardappelteelt (PCA). De aardappelvoorraad bedraagt nog 2,11 miljoen ton. Dat is ongeveer 200.000 ton meer dan het gemiddelde van de afgelopen vijf jaar. Het PCA inventariseerde begin februari de aardappelvoorraden. De geraamde 2,11 miljoen ton betekent dat van de totale productie in België 58 procent nog in de bewaring ligt. Het aandeel Bintje van de aardappelen in de bewaring is 29 procent en dat van Fontane is 32 procent. Bijna 70 procent van de voorraad Fontane is te vinden op Vlaamse bedrijven. In Wallonië is Bintje nog wat populairder. Meer

Increase of potato acreage in Western and Central Europe

Motivated by the high prices recorded in the previous season, the acreage devoted to potatoes in Western Europe and some countries in Central and Eastern Europe has increased. In the EU as a whole, the potato acreage in 2016 amounted to 1.68 million hectares and was about 2 percent greater than in the previous year, as revealed in the IAFE report. Potato yields have declined in Western Europe, while a significant increase has been recorded in Central European countries. Potato harvests in the EU-28 increased by almost 6 percent in comparison with 2015 and amounted to 56.2 million tonnes, mainly due to significantly higher yields in Poland (2.5 million tonnes). The five countries with a decisive impact on the European potato market (Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK) recorded a drop in the potato harvest of approximately 1 percent compared to the previous year and of 3 percent compared to the five-year average. More

China: First batch of US seed potatoes to arrive in Jining next month

The office for Inspection and Quarantine in Jining city (Shandong province), recently handled papers regarding the import of seed potatoes for a local agricultural company. The formalities having been dealt with, the first batch should arrive in Jining in March. “These imports are one of the very first introductions of American seed potatoes into China in recent years.” A relevant staff member explains that the agricultural science company is situated in the city’s Wenshang county and that the CEO of the company is a Chinese-American person. Introducing foreign seed tubers at this time is mainly in order to find suitable acres to grow potatoes of excellent quality in the future. More

Milieuvriendelijk zakken van aardappelen

Ze lijken op plastic zakken, maar zijn gemaakt van materialen als natuurlijk zetmeel en derivaten van plantaardige olie. Als EnviGreen-zakken in een glas water op kamertemperatuur worden gezet, lossen ze binnen een dag op en in een glas kokend water binnen slechts 15 seconden. Gooi je de zak weg, dan wordt hij binnen 180 dagen biologisch afgebroken zonder nadelige gevolgen voor het milieu. De zakken zijn zelfs eetbaar en kunnen dieren dus niet onbedoeld kwaad doen. Meer

US looks to gain back potato market share

A big factor influencing potato demand in the past decade or two has been low-carb diets that eschewed potatoes. But those negative views are changing, according to Blair Richardson, president of Potatoes USA. “The research we’ve been conducting in the last couple of years (shows) that consumer perception of the potato is actually improving quite a bit.” Richardson points to recent studies illustrating the nutritional value of potatoes as a big reason why. “The major change that we’ve made at Potatoes USA in the last year or two is we have switched from a defensive perspective to an offensive perspective,” Richardson says. “We’re not just saying it’s OK to eat potatoes; we’re using the research that the Alliance for Potato Research & Education group and that we ourselves have put together… to say you should eat potatoes and not only that, you should eat more potatoes.” Another test for U.S. producers has been fierce competition in the global french fry market, which has grown considerably in recent years. More

Canada: New products available for potato growers in 2017

Aprovia fungicide is a new alternative for the control of verticillium wilt. Aprovia Top fungicide combines difenoconazole (FRAC Group 3) with Solatenol (FRAC Group 7) in order to control alternaria-caused early blight and to suppress alternaria-caused brown spot. Potato growers now have access to a new biofungicide called Double Nickel, which controls white mould and early blight as a foliar spray. United Phosphorus offers its new Elixir fungicide, recently registered in Canada and created exclusively for potato production. Orondis Ultra provides long-lasting protection against potato late blight using two modes of action. Valent has applied for a spring 2017 minor registration in Canada for the use of Presidio fungicide for suppression of pink rot. Already known as an effective product against early blight, Quash is a fungicide composed of metconazole, from the triazole family (Group 3). Bayer expects its herbicide Sencor STZ to be registered in the spring of 2017. On November 16 Bayer announced Canadian registration of Velum Prime, a non-fumigant potato nematicide. More

New tool could mean faster tests for Zebra chip disease

A new portable diagnostic tool for identifying the devastating zebra chip disease may bring faster and more accurate results to stem its spread, according to New Zealand scientists. Zebra chip is a bacteria which alters a plant’s metabolism and burns striped patches in potatoes, making both the potato and its seed inedible and unmarketable. According to Dr Grant Smith who is a plant pathologist with the Plant and Food Research institute in New Zealand has been developing the tool as current tests were not accurate enough. “Because they’re relatively new pathogens we don’t know an awful lot about it so we don’t understand quite what the genetics, what the population structure is, of this bacterium,” Dr Smith said. According to Dr Smith, the new technology would also be portable and cut waiting times from two-three days to roughly 30 minutes. More

Argentina: Entry of Brazilian potatoes causes concern

The National Federation of Potato Producers (Fenapp), which has been affected by the climate and other factors that may have undermined the crop’s development throughout the country, expressed its dissatisfaction with the arrival of Brazilian potatoes at the Central Market. “We know there is a need for much more bilateral trade within the framework of regional integration and as a result of the creation of a common market such as Mercosur,” said the Vice President of  Fenapp, Mario Raiteri. “We could understand these imports if there was a decrease in supply of potatoes that led to a disproportionate increase in the price of food for the people of Argentina, but there is no such thing going on,” the leader added. The potato sector has been going through complex situations, such as climate issues, the high cost of inputs, and dollar inflation. “In addition, we have high employer contributions, expensive freight and its powerful impact on production areas far from large urban centers,” Raiteri stated. More

Eastern States ban imports from Western Australia after pest found

After the discovery of a destructive pest known as the tomato potato psyllid at a Perth farm, Eastern States banned the import of produce from Western Australia in order to quarantine the problem. With the Federal agriculture officials in Canberra alerting overseas trading partners, growers and exporters fear foreign markets could be lost. The State Agriculture Department has placed at least one Perth farm in quarantine. The Department of Agriculture raised the alert last week after the tomato potato psyllid was found on a commercial capsicum crop. It is the first time that the bug has been detected in Australia and officials are taking it seriously as it is said to be a big production pest in countries where it is present, such as the US and New Zealand. Beyond attacking crops, the pest can act as a host for bacteria that damages potatoes. More

India: Potato growers urge government to waive loans

After claiming to have suffered huge losses after the governments demonetisation move, the Jalandhar potato growers’ association (JPGA) on Monday threatened to throw their crops in front of banks if the government does not waive their loans taken against the crops. “Due to demonetisation, we have suffered the loss of two consecutive crops. There are no buyers of potatoes in any state,” said Jaswinder Singh Sangha, general secretary of the association. “If the situation does not get rectified within a week, we will be left with no other option than to intensify our agitation against demonetisation,” he added. President of the association Raghbir Singh said, “Potato seed production is an expensive activity and the farmers in Punjab have raised massive loans from banks owing to the heavy investment required to produce quality seeds, but are suffering from heavy losses.” More

Gesloten kringloop troef voor aardappelmarkt

De naam Van Meir kennen we voornamelijk als uienpool pionier. Vanuit het Brabantse Steenbergen startte het twaalf jaar geleden met het afzetten van uien in poolverband. De teelt, verwerking en vermarketing van aardappelen heeft daar altijd naast bestaan. Echter, dit segment groeit door vraag vanuit de markt. Reden om een nieuw tijdperk te starten, zoals het bedrijf zelf aangeeft. De eerste merkbare verandering binnen het bedrijf zijn de naam en huisstijl. Die verandert van Van Meir Uien BV naar Van Meir Onions & Potatoes. Daarbij horen een nieuwe huisstijl en website. Het zijn de eerste stappen van het groeiende bedrijf, legt eigenaar Leon van Meir uit. Naast het sorteren, verpakken en verhandelen van uien en aardappelen runt Van Meir in Noord-Brabant een eigen akkerbouwbedrijf en teelt hij aardappelen en uien in België. Deze bedrijfstak speelt een belangrijke rol binnen het geheel, zo wordt in het interview duidelijk. Meer

Australia: Potato prices ease as supply recovers thanks to ‘close to perfect’ summer conditions

Thorpdale potato farmer Alan Westbury shows off some new season potatoes.Flooding in South Australia, western Victoria, Tasmania and southern New South Wales delayed plantings and damaged crops last year. The subsequent national supply shortage caused potatoes to rise to a record wholesale price of $1,500 a tonne for growers in Queensland. AUSVEG spokesman Shaun Lindhe said the supply shortage particularly pushed up prices for brushed potatoes, and affected quality. “But in saying that, there were some farmers who were not affected by floods who were able to reduce some of the impact on supply,” he said. “And because of that [those farmers] were able to get quite good prices.” Thorpdale potato farmer Alan Westbury had some minor issues with heavy spring rainfall affecting his crop last year. But Mr Westbury said the summer weather conditions had been close to perfect. He began harvest in the first week of January and said he was pleased with its progression. “The quality of the potatoes is very good,” he said. “Fortunately after the wet start with planting it turned out to be very dry, very hot and the quality therefore is very good.” More

The Country Life: This spud’s for you – a look at Colorado’s potato history

Baked. Fried. Mashed. How have you been enjoying your potatoes? Each month, the Colorado Department of Agriculture highlights a product in the state, and it chose February to be Potato Lover’s Month. Colorado produces more than 2 billion pounds of potatoes every year – making it the fifth largest producer in the nation – and more than 70 varieties. The San Luis Valley is the state’s primary producer, but the potato was a major crop in the Pikes Peak region more than a century ago. The El Paso County Fair in Calhan began in 1905 as a potato bake, held to celebrate a bumper crop. The 1906 fair was billed by Calhan News as a “Potato Bake and Agricultural Display.” Within a decade, pinto beans had toppled potatoes as the chief crop. More

US: Interpreting post-harvest test results

Seed certification is a quality control program that consists of a number of components intended to ensure that specified quality standards are met. One of the more important of these components is post-harvest testing. Post-harvest testing may consist of an off-season grow-out in the field or greenhouse, laboratory testing, or some combination of these. The vast majority of Idaho seed lots are post-harvest tested in a winter grow-out conducted in Waialua, Hawaii. This grow-out consists of a visual assessment of grower-submitted samples for  potato leaf roll virus and a laboratory test of harvested leaves for potato virus Y (PVY). While the process of post-harvest testing and the reporting of results is relatively straightforward, we do occasionally receive questions about why reported post-harvest test results differ from what is observed in the field the following season. This has been a particular issue with PVY levels observed in some seed lots. Why does this occur? More

UK: PCN picture looks better with ICM approach

Pete LeggNorfolk potato grower, Pete Legge, believes he has finally got a handle on PCN control, with a switch to Nemathorin in combination with a comprehensive ICM agronomy programme that is seeing long-term egg counts declining – along with reduced effects on the growing crop, yield and tuber quality. At the core of the farm’s approach has been a greater focus on soil testing – and tailoring the crop’s agronomy to the results. That has included seeking out clean land, extending rotations, adopting resistant or tolerant varieties, split field cropping and better targeted use of a nematicide. “We are now sampling all potato fields – both our own and long-term rented land – on one hectare grids, and using GPS technology to build up  a better picture and understanding of the PCN populations,” he reported. “We have even started doing some pf:pi counts, pre and post cropping.” Armed with the knowledge of PCN levels, he says they are better able to adjust cropping and variety selection to individual field situations, even to the extent of taking fields out of the rotation if PCN populations are too high, or being more selective in fields that are rented. More

Research: Potatoes wild with calcium

Jansky with potatoes in research fieldHave you ever cut into a potato to find a dark spot or hollow part? Early research shows that these defects are likely the result of calcium deficiencies in the potato — and that tuber calcium is genetically linked to tuber quality. Neither consumers at grocery stores nor the companies that make potato chips and fries want these low calcium defects. In addition to the cosmetic issues, these potatoes are more likely to rot. Most farmed varieties of potatoes have naturally low levels of calcium. So researchers at the USDA-ARS and University of Wisconsin-Madison, including Shelley Jansky, John Bamberg, and Jiwan Palta looked to wild potatoes. Their purpose: to breed new potato cultivars with high calcium levels. The team found a wild potato with almost seven times as much calcium as a usual variety. The next job was to isolate the calcium trait. More. Jansky’s research is published in Crop Science.

New disease crosses the Atlantic

Soon after their spuds were planted in 2014, some growers in the northeastern United States knew they had a problem. Much of the crop didn’t even emerge. Growers were looking at stands of only 40 percent, said Steve Johnson, an Extension crops specialist with the University of Maine. Soon, wilting and blackleg-like symptoms began to appear in affected fields. But this didn’t act like regular blackleg. The mystery pathogen was more aggressive. “It looked like blackleg on steroids,” Johnson said. It turned out to be dickeya dianthicola, a seedborne pathogen that’s new to the North American potato industry but has bedeviled European growers for decades. During the past two years the disease has been detected in several states, mostly in the Northeast. D. dianthicola has caused significant losses to some commercial spud growers in the region, Johnson said. In some cases, farmers have left entire fields unharvested. More

US: Growers see yield benefits with V+M Solution

Nematodes and diseases can wreak havoc on the most promising of potato crops. A focus on nematode control to increase root health is one way to keep potatoes healthy all season long, but comes as a challenge to most growers because they can’t always see the pests feeding and infecting their crop. Enter the V+M solution, which offers nematode suppression with added disease and insect management in a unique solution from Bayer. The solution brings together the wide-spectrum nematicidal activity of Velum Prime with the sustained in-season nematode protection of Movento. The use of these two proven products together recharges and extends current nematode management programs for higher yield and quality leading to a more profitable crop. More

Canada: Approvia label expanded to include major potato diseases

Syngenta Canada Inc. has announced the expansion of the Aprovia fungicide label to include additional soil-borne diseases affecting potato production, including Verticillium wilt, one of the main contributors to potato early dying. Potato early dying is a complex and economically significant disease that is widespread across many growing areas, but difficult to identify and effectively manage. Verticillium enters plants through the roots and move into the xylem – the plant’s water and conducting vessels – where they disrupt nutrient and water mobility. This causes plant leaves and stems to wither and die-off several weeks earlier than they would at normal maturity. Potato stems heavily infected with Verticillium stand out in a field above the canopy of uninfected plants. More

North Lebanon potato farmers protest imports from Egypt

Farmers in north Lebanon Saturday protested potato imports, arguing that it helped worsen their situation. The farmers in the town of Halba in the northern district of Akkar urged Agriculture Minister Ghazi Zeaiter to ban the importation of Egyptian potatoes, the National News Agency reported. The protesters complained that the Egyptian imports that don’t meet the applied standards have been “randomly” entering Lebanon. They called on the government to find markets to dispose of their products, estimated to reach around 60,000 tons, locally and in foreign markets. More