About Lukie Pieterse

Content Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today; Newsfeed Curator: HZPC Holland and HZPC Americas; LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/lukie

US: Two new Russet varieties to be released soon

Jeanne Debons, executive director of the Potato Variety Management Institute, with potato varieties under her organization’s management at the recent University of Idaho Potato Conference in Pocatello, Idaho. PVMI is releasing two new varieties — Castle Russet and Echo Russet.Two new spud varieties are coming soon to the Pacific Northwest. Echo Russet and Castle Russet — developed by the Tri-State Potato Breeding Program that includes Oregon, Washington and Idaho — are just about ready to be released commercially, according to Sagar Sathuvalli with Oregon State University. Sathuvalli, a potato breeder at OSU’s Hermiston Agricultural Research and Experiment Center, discussed the traits of each variety with local growers during the station’s annual potato field day Wednesday. Both varieties boast high yields and good cooking quality, and can be used either for french fries or fresh market. Echo Russet — named for the nearby town — and Castle Russet are about to cross that finish line. The Capital Press reports that the Potato Variety Management Institute, which handles licensing and royalties for Tri-State varieties, has decided to release the latest creations in December. In February, Capital Press reported that officials representing the Idaho, Oregon and Washington potato breeding programs say they’re releasing a pair of new russet varieties that should help position the industry to cope with more stringent regulations on soil fumigants. The new varieties are billed as medium- to late-maturing potatoes appropriate for use in both the fresh market and processing, also having good culinary qualities and cold sweetening resistance, so they fry with a light color even after months in storage. Read more

New publication: Essential guide for potato store owners on CIPC application practices

The Potato Industry CIPC Stewardship Group in the UK recently published a new factsheet entitled “CIPC Application: A store owner’s guide. Essential information for making potato stores CIPC compliant from the 2017/18 season.” New controls planned by CIPC approval holders, and backed by Industry Stewardship, will mean all CIPC
applications from the 2017 harvest are made using ‘active recirculation’ to optimise efficacy at the new panEuropean lower maximum total dose (36g/t), enhance distribution and reduce the risk of Maximum Residue Level (MRL) exceedance. ‘Active recirculation’ is the new industryagreed term to describe the recirculation of air (containing CIPC fog) by fans. Research conducted by AHDB and others within the industry has shown that the correct use of fans can significantly improve the uniformity of CIPC distribution, reducing the risk of maximum residue level exceedance. In most cases, this can best be achieved using variable speed control to slow fans down to provide a steady circulation of fog throughout the store. The new publication by the Stewardship Group provide practical, illustrated guidelines that store owners can follow to get their facilities compliant. Click to view the guide as a pdf file

UK: Potato industry to meet on eve of CIPC regulation change

Postharvest Showcase, one of the leading potato storage events in Great Britain, is to take place on 27 July, days before regulations on the use of Chlorpropham (CIPC) are to change. CIPC is the principal tool in the potato storage manager’s box when tackling sprout suppression in tubers. An interactive display at the event, provided by independent body the CIPC Stewardship Group, will demonstrate methods for effective use the treatment at the new lower levels using ‘active recirculation’ of air in the store, as part of their ‘No Fan, No Fog’ campaign. Innovations and future technology will also be on the agenda at the event. Dr James Covington of the University of Warwick will discuss his team’s research into electronic, non-destructive sensors to detect soft rot in potatoes as part of a keynote speaker programme.  Continue reading

Tong’s Fieldloader now comes with new design options

Tong Engineering announced new design options on its popular Fieldloader, including unique automatic transport-mode features, allowing users to make the machine even more compact for road transport. Designed to provide effective in-field cleaning and bulker loading in one mobile machine, the Tong Fieldloader is a mobile system which allows crop cleaning and inspection to take place straight from the harvester with direct loading into bulker lorries for immediate distribution. “Our Fieldloader is increasingly popular with growers as it means soil is removed in the field and kept off the public roads, plus transport of crop is significantly reduced as there is a no need to transport crop to a central yard or location” explains Charlie Rich, Export Sales Manager at Tong Engineering. “It significantly reduces crop handling times, allowing growers to meet tight deadlines and deliver crop in optimum condition straight from the field. All the latest Fieldloader models are powered by our Blue Inverter Technology with all electric direct drive, meaning that the machine runs very efficiently, with minimal energy consumption.”  Continue reading

Already millions lost due to extreme drought in Belgium; early potatoes suffering

During the months of March, April and May, there was much less precipitation than usually. The current month, June, is also very dry so far. Very warm weather has been forecast for this week. The influence on the cultivations is large, and there are many complaints from the potato and fruit sector. In Flanders, the potato sector is already talking about nearly 15 million euro lost. For all agricultural products combined, the Flemish government is talking about nearly 190 million euro. According to Romain Cools of Belgapom, especially early potatoes in sandy soil were affected by the heat and drought. “These early potatoes bridge the old and new season, and are contracted in moderation. It mostly concerns vegetable growers in West-Flanders for who these potatoes are an in-between cultivation. This region issued an irrigation ban just last week, which can influence the yield of potato and vegetable crops even more. In early potatoes, people are talking about a yield loss of 25 per cent.” More

LALLF qualifiziert Kartoffelselekteure im ‘Virusschaugarten’ – Kartoffelviren vom Acker bekommen!

„Das Alleinstellungsmerkmal unserer derzeitigen „Selektionstage“ in Gülzow, einer Qualifizierung von Kartoffelselekteuren, liegt darin, dass wir alle wichtigen viralen Erkrankungen auf Versuchsflächen an der gewachsenen Kartoffelpflanze zeigen“, sagt Joachim Vietinghoff, Leiter des Pflanzenschutzdienstes im Landesamt für Landwirtschaft, Lebensmittelsicherheit und Fischerei (LALLF) in Rostock. „Die Selekteure können daran lernen, was sie vom Pflanzkartoffelfeld entfernen müssen, um das Wachstum gesunder und sortenreiner Bestände zu unterstützen“, ergänzt er. In einem Theorie- und einem Praxisteil lernen in diesen Tagen knapp 150 engagierte Frauen und Männer, überwiegend aus Mecklenburg-Vorpommern und weiteren vier Bundesländern, die „Bilder“ der Krankheiten (Symptome) und Ausprägungen viraler Erkrankungen der Kartoffeln kennen. Dazu wird im LALLF jährlich extra ein halber Hektar Pflanzkartoffeln in verschiedenen Parzellen und in einem „Virusschaugarten“ angebaut, um Beispiele der Blattroll-, Y-, A-, M-, X- und S-Viren zeigen zu können. Mehr

UK: Hot potatoes under Alternaria attack

Heat stress under record seasonal high early summer temperatures could trigger increased risk of an initial Alternaria attack in potato crops. Plants suffering from lack of moisture could prove more susceptible to pathogen infection, whilst soil moisture deficit will inhibit the uptake of nutrients, which could further stress crops during rapid canopy growth. Research has shown that stress is a key factor in enabling initial infection of Alternaria alternata to take hold in plants. Affected crops are believed to be more susceptible to the later infection of more devastating A. solani strains of the pathogen, according to Syngenta Potato Technical Manager, Douglas Dyas.  “Successive years of Alternaria leaf tissue testing by NIAB has revealed the A. alternata strain to be the first to appear, typically starting in late June,” he reported. “But the current weather conditions could trigger earlier infection, particularly in susceptible varieties if they are under stress.”  Continue reading

Italy: Pleasing results for Stet Holland potatoes

Famous for their gold potatoes cultivated in the red soil near the Guà river, the Colognes area in the Veneto region is welcoming the first harvesting of 2017. Despite the problematic weather conditions caused by the cold front that affected the area in April, Stet Holland potatoes passed all stress tests with flying colours and proved to be extremely resistant. Tubers are distributed thanks to the cooperation between Balladore Carlo e figlio Snc, located in Guazzora (Alessandria), and intermediation agency Veronese Luciano & C. Sas, located in Asigliano Veneto (Vicenza). The Avanti variety will be harvested over the next few days, confirming it as the earliest cultivar of the segment. It will then be the turn of the Vitalia variety, with yellow skin and flesh and excellent for storage in cold units. More

Why is Bob Dylan’s face now on Chinese potato crisp bags?

News spreads fast on the Internet, and word about what appears to be Chinese potato crisp packets sporting Bob Dylan’s face could not have spread faster. Many denizens of the Internet were as confused as one would be when taking in this bizarre combination – there are eight different bag variants available, each containing what people presumed were different flavours of crisps themed around Dylan’s most famous works. But the answers were not found blowin’ in the wind (excuse the pun); they were readily available for those who dug deep enough. It turns out that the potato crisp bags do not actually house real, Frito-Lay-type goodness, but books. That’s right – there are books in those potato crisp bags. This is where the pieces of the puzzle all fall together. The potato crisp bags are actually a clever, albeit very strange marketing campaign for eight new volumes of Bob Dylan’s lyrics, which have now been translated into Mandarin. More

Researchers engineer heat tolerance in potato crops

Scientists at the James Hutton Institute and the University of St. Andrews have developed a technique to ‘engineer’ heat tolerance in potato crops, potentially providing potato breeders with a valuable tool in their quest to create varieties suited to the requirements of growers, industry and retailers. The potato crop is particularly vulnerable to increased temperature, which is considered to be the most important uncontrollable factor affecting growth and yield, according to the researchers. By comparing many different types of potato, scientists at the Institute have found a version of a gene involved in the heat stress response that is more active in potato types that can tolerant high temperature. The team went on to show that the switch that turns the protective gene on  is different in the heat tolerant types. More

Zambian farmer alleges market is flooded by cheap potato imports from South Africa

A commercial farmer has called on the Zambian government to protect potato growers from cheap imports from South Africa. Stuart Cooke, who is managing director of Chartonel Farms in Lusaka, said a lot of cheap potatoes are allowed onto the Zambian market from South Africa, which is disadvantaging local farmers. “Cheap imports are really affecting us. Our new crop is just coming in, but they have flooded the market with cheap imports from South Africa. Zambia is being used as a dumping ground for South African produce. Only when the price in South Africa is very low do they sell here and that affects our market in a big way,” Mr Cooke said. He said the local potato growers are able to satisfy the market. “We are capable of supplying the market throughout the year. We are on the market selling 11 months of the year, and I’m confident we can supply the market,” he said. More

Kronen installs potato processing line for big Russian retail chain

The new Kronen processing line, which has been recently installed at the retail chain, Lenta, in St. Petersburg, processes up to 600 kilograms per hour. Lenta is one of the biggest retail chains in Russia and the second largest hyper-market chain in the country. Lenta operates 195 hyper-markets in 78 cities, all over Russia, and 53 supermarkets in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nowosibirsk and the central region. For the introduction of a new product portfolio of cleaned, pre-cut and vacuum packaged vegetables such as carrots, red beets, as well as potatoes in different shapes and packaging sizes – Lenta was looking for an ideal option to prepare these products cheaply and automated. With this background in mind, Lenta contacted the Russian Kronen Representative Industrial Nutrition (www.ipita.ru). More

UK: Brexit affects potato industry

During the Europatat Congress in Antwerp, Belgium, Cedric Porter of the World Potato Markets gave a presentation titled Brexit and the Potato Industry. Last June, 52 per cent of the British people voted to leave the European Union, and this month, negotiations between the UK and the EU will start. Brexit itself is planned for March 29, 2019. However, last week’s general election in the UK has made the situation more uncertain. Prime Minister Theresa May was hoping to gain a majority by calling early elections, but she failed to do so. More

Packaging and processing specialist tna opens office in Japan

Image result for tna potato equipmenttna, supplier of food processing and packaging solutions, continues to grow its global footprint with the opening of a new Japan office and the launch of a brand new Japanese website. Located in central Tokyo in the Marunouchi district, tna’s new office will host technical support and sales staff to directly support the Japanese market with a greater choice of leading-edge food technology solutions and innovation. tna’s Japanese operations will be headed up by Shuntaro Yamasaki, who has recently joined the business as general manager – tna Japan k.k. and who will be instrumental in supporting local food manufacturers with tna’s vast array of start-to-finish solutions – from processing, cooling, coating, distribution, seasoning, weighing, bagging, inserting and labelling, metal detection, verification, controls systems all the way to end-of-line equipment.  Continue reading

Australia: New techniques catch potato pests on the hop on Kangaroo Island

Image result for aphid potatoSeed potato growers on Kangaroo Island are adopting a new strategy to manage the aphids and thrips pestering their crops, taking on expert advice from agronomists and entomologists to adopt integrated pest management for these insect pests. In January 2015, Kangaroo Island seed potato growers and agronomists invited Dr Paul Horne and Angelica Cameron from IPM Technologies to help them improve their pest management and control the most important pests of seed potato crops: the aphids and thrips that vector potato leafroll virus and tomato spotted wilt virus. Following a successful trial by several growers that achieved control of insect pests with only minimal use of soft selective insecticides, and no application of broad-spectrum products during the life of the crops, the technique spread in popularity among the island’s industry. In the 2016-17 season, the majority of the island’s seed potato growers implemented some form of IPM across their farms to some extent.  Continue reading

Potato spindle tuber viroid aangetroffen in zaad van raketblad

Image result for Potato spindle tuber viroidDe Nederlande Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit (NVWA) heeft een lichte besmetting van Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) aangetroffen in zaad van Solanum sisymbriifolium, beter bekend als raketblad. De besmetting is aangetroffen in een partij raketbladzaad bij een veredelaar en producent van raketblad in Groningen. De besmette partij raketzaad is echter geproduceerd in Azië. Het bedrijf heeft levering van het zaad stopgezet en afgezette partijen teruggehaald. Zaad uit de besmette partij is door 1 teler in Nederland door 1 teler in het Verenigd Koninkrijk ingezaaid. De NVWA heeft de Nederlandse teler geadviseerd het gewas te vernietigen en heeft de autoriteiten in het Verenigd Koninkrijk op de hoogte gesteld. Meer

Scottish seed potato exporters eyeing new market in Kenya

AHDB says there is a 'real opportunity' for exporting potato varieties to Kenya. Picture: ContributedScottish seed potato growers may have another export market in the future following successful growing trials in Kenya. It follows a concerted effort by the Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) and Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture to open up the African market. AHDB’s Rob Burns said: “Before commercial growers can access the market, trial seed needs to be tested and grown over two seasons in at least three geographical locations in Kenya. Fortunately in Kenya there are two growing seasons annually so we hope to reach the end of this process, and open up the market fully, by early 2018.” Ten varieties have been sent for trialing; four free varieties – Hermes, Atlantic, Cara and Russet Burbank – and six commercial varieties provided by the James Hutton Institute. The varieties selected are processing varieties which are expected to thrive in hot, dry conditions. (Source: The Scotsman)

US importing more potatoes

US volume of imports of dehydrated, fresh, frozen, chips and seed potatoes are up 7% for July 2016 – March 2017 compared to the same period the previous year, according to Potatoes USA.  The organization says the increase of 2.5 million  hundredweight (cwt) fresh weight equivalent (fwe) was due to increases in all products except seed potatoes. The increase was led by fresh potatoes, which were up 17% or 940,173 cwt.  Imports of dehydrated potatoes increased 6% or 370,160 fwe cwt while frozen imports were up 1.14 million fwe cwt or 5%. Canada supplies all of the fresh potatoes and the vast majority of frozen products, while the dehy comes from a number of different sources including Canada, the EU, China and Peru. (Source: Potatoes USA)

Europatat Congress 2017 – Making the European Potato Trade great

Last week on 15 & 16 June, the Europatat Congress 2017 took place, organised in coordination by Europatat, the European Potato Trade Association, and Belgapom, the Belgian Potato Trade and Processing Industry Association. Feedback on the congress and side events has been extremely positive. Under the slogan “Make the European Potato Trade Great Again! (it’s gonna be huge, it’s gonna be great, it’s true)”, the Congress focused on two of the major topics that are on the table of European policy this year, namely Plant Health (following the recent EU reform on Plant Health and Official Controls) and International Trade (following recent historical political events). The keynote speaker in the morning session, Mr Harry Arijs (DG SANTE, European Commission) gave participants an insight about the impact that the new European Plant Health Regulation will have in the potato sector when it enters into force at the end of 2019. At the present, key implementing and delegated acts are being discussed and the potato sector’s input will be of high value.  Continue reading

High hopes for British seed potatoes in Kenya

Official potato trial seed sent to Kenya has passed initial lab tests and is now growing well in three locations. AHDB and SASA have been working together to open the Kenyan market to GB seed with a bilateral agreement signed by the Scottish and Kenyan governments late last year. Since then, there has been a significant amount of work behind the scenes to transport, test and plant seed on Kenyan farms. AHDB’s Head of Crops Export Market Development, Rob Burns, explains: “Before commercial growers can access the market trial seed needs to be tested and grown over two seasons in at least three geographical locations in Kenya. Fortunately in Kenya there are two growing seasons annually so we hope to reach the end of this process, and open up the market fully, by early 2018. Potatoes are the second most important food crop in Kenya after maize with about 2-3 million tonnes of potatoes grown annually. The real opportunity in Kenya is in the burgeoning middle class; there is a growing market for premium potato-based products such as crisps and chips, and for these they need the high quality seed for which we are renowned.” Continue reading

Metals from Bolivian mines affect crops and pose potential health risk, study suggests

A University of Oklahoma Civil Engineering and Environmental Science Professor Robert Nairn and his co-authors have conducted a collaborative study that suggests exposure to trace metals from potatoes grown in soil irrigated with waters from the Potosi mining region in Bolivia, home to the world’s largest silver deposit, may put residents at risk of non-cancer health illnesses. “In this high mountain desert, water is a critically precious resource and the use of metal-polluted waters for irrigation may have substantial detrimental impacts on the lives of subsistence farmers,” said Bill Strosnider, researcher on the project. Potatoes are the primary dietary staple in the surrounding communities. “Our findings allow the research community insight into the potential human and environmental impact that vast active and abandoned mining operations may pose all across the Andean region,” said Alan Garrido, researcher on the project. More

India: ‘28% GST on farm implements will ruin potato industry’

Punjab potato growers and dealers apprehend a further setback if the state government goes ahead with its proposal of 28% GST on farm implements used in potato growing industry and have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the issue before final implementation of the new tax regime in July. “We are already a sick industry and the proposed 28% GST on farm implements will play havoc with farmers and dealers,” said president of Jalandhar Potato Growers Association (JPGA) Gurraj Singh Nijjar while talking to TOI on Saturday. Though potato dealers are not sure about the exact GST, which will imposed, they apprehend that it could be between 20%-28%. Nijjar said presently there was no VAT or duty on farm machinery, but they apprehend that the government could impose 28% GST on farm implements used for potato cultivation. More

La culture de la pomme de terre a la frite dans les champs

Les champs de pommes de terre fleurissent dans le Montreuillois, comme dans toute la région des Hauts-de-France.Dans le monde agricole, la crise est tenace et beaucoup d’agriculteurs sont en proie à des difficultés financières. Mais un secteur résiste à la crise ambiante, il s’agit des producteurs de pommes de terre qui sont de plus en plus nombreux dans la région. Oui, et le phénomène n’est pas observé qu’en France ou dans le Montreuillois. Selon l’Union nationale des producteurs de pommes de terre, la surface dédiée à cette culture devrait augmenter de 7,2 % pour la période 2017-2018 en Europe. En France, la tendance est également à l’augmentation des surfaces. Dans le département du Pas-de-Calais, 26 % des surfaces agricoles sont occupées par de la pomme de terre d’après la chambre d’agriculture. Selon Étienne Broutier, directeur de Danespo, ex-Touquet plants à Montcavrel, cette année, la France comptait 131 000 hectares de de champs de pommes de terre, soit 4 500 de plus que l’an dernier. Rapport

Taiwan: Gov’t to control future GMO potato imports

Agriculture authorities say they’re prepared to implement controls to prevent the possible import of U.S. genetically modified (GMO) potatoes from affecting domestic growers. The U.S. recently applied with the Health and Welfare Ministry to import GMO potatoes, with the approval process expected to be completed next year at the earliest. However, concerns are being raised about the potential health impacts of GMO food products and the adverse effects of these imports on domestic potato farmers. The Council of Agriculture said Monday it would monitor future imports and call for proper labeling of foreign GMO potatoes. If approved for import, the GMO potatoes would be used in potato chips, French fries and other processed food products. The government currently allows five types of GMO products to be imported, namely soybeans, corn, cotton, rapeseed and sugar beets. More

Fries over rings: McDonald’s ends 41-year Olympic sponsorship


McDonald's at the OlympicsMcDonald’s Corp ended its 41-year-old sponsorship of the Olympic Games three years early, the International Olympic Committee said on Friday, reflecting the U.S. fast-food giant’s focus on its core business as well as rising Olympics sponsorship costs and declining TV ratings. McDonald’s deal would have run through the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and bowing out will likely to save it hundreds of million of dollars. McDonald’s has been trying to hold down costs as it invests in improving food quality, restaurant service and online ordering to woo back U.S. diners. While terms of Olympic sponsorship are not disclosed, a source who negotiated previous IOC sponsorship deals said that top global sponsors like McDonald’s spend about $100 million for a four-year period that includes a summer and winter games. Reuters previously reported that the IOC had wanted to roughly double fees to $200 million per four year period starting in 2021. More  Translate