Author: Lukie Pieterse

How to manage weeds in potato crops without diquat

There will be no room for complacency in potato weed control strategies in the UK this spring, as British growers embark on their first season without the popular broad-spectrum contact herbicide diquat. Up to now, weed control was pretty simple – many would plant, wait until weeds emerge and sometimes cover up to 40% of the crop, then apply a residual plus diquat mix. However, with diquat’s revocation in the UK, this “casual” approach to weed management in potato crops is no longer sustainable.

WPC Webinar on powdery scab now available online

The World Potato Congress offered its third Webinar in 2020 on March 18, featuring Dr Leah Tsror, titled ‘Powdery Scab – Integrated disease management for reducing the risk’. The focus of Dr Tsror’s presentation during the Webinar was on the epidemiology of the disease and the integrated management practices for reducing the risk of powdery scab.

Frito-Lay accused of deceiving customers with labeling of artificially flavored potato chips

Legal Newsline reports that Frito-Lay North America Inc. is accused of misleading consumers by failing to disclose on the front label that its Ruffles cheddar and sour cream potato chips contain artificial flavoring, a class action lawsuit alleges. “Other brands of cheddar and sour cream ridged potato chips contain cheddar and sour cream seasoning with artificial flavor and identify their products as ‘Artificially Flavored’ on the front label,” the complaint says.

Coronavirus and your workers – guidance for British farm businesses

In this article Julie Robinson, partner at Roythornes Solicitors and previously chief legal adviser at the National Farmers’ Union in the UK, considers some of the issues facing farmers and grower employers in the light of the developing coronavirus crisis. Farms are not professional services firms where remote working may be an alternative to being physically present on site, Julie writes.

Ireland: Potato demand from retailers soars; food service takes hit

With the current coronavirus situation developing over the past week, demand across all sectors has been mixed, according to the IFA. Demand from retailers this week has soared and is reportedly as high as the Christmas period when trade normally peaks. The food service industry is experiencing a hit due to decreased footfall and closures. Meanwhile plantings continue this week across the country.

Europatat: European organizations issues statement on food security amid the Covid-19 outbreak

The European organisations CopaCogeca, FoodDrinkEurope and Celcaa (the European Liaison Committee for Agricultural and Agri-Food Trade, of which Europatat is a member) have released a joint statement in which they assure that “Europe’s food supply chain will work closely together to ensure everybody in Europe continues to have access to safe, quality and affordable food and drink products during the Coronavirus pandemic”.

US: Why there will soon be tons of toilet paper, and what food may be scarce, according to supply chain experts

Stuck rationing toilet paper because you didn’t stockpile during the coronavirus panic over the last few days? Don’t worry, according to supply chain experts. “All the grocery stores are going to have pallets of toilet paper sitting in the aisles, and nobody is going to buy it, because who needs to buy toilet paper when you’ve got a year’s worth sitting in your garage?” Daniel Stanton, a supply chain expert. “The [food] brand that you normally want may not be available. But, hey, there’s some other kind of pasta. Or instead of rice, we’re going to have potatoes for dinner,” Stanton says.

Potato specialists provide guidelines on mitigating early planting risks

It’s really a very simple formula: increase the length of the growing season and increase the potential yield and profits from a potato crop. There isn’t much that can be done to avoid a season-ending frost sometime during the fall, so perhaps the most feasible way to extend the season is to plant the crop early, say potato specialists Mike Thornton and Nora Olsen at the University of Idaho. When making decisions on when to start planting, growers should be aware that there are also some substantial risks involved

US: Western Potatoes grows spuds for Frito-Lay

If you’re in the Panhandle and open up a bag of Frito-Lay potato chips, chances are good the potatoes came from one of the Western Potatoes locations in Alliance, Kansas or Colorado, according to an article published by the Star-Herald. Western Potatoes grows chip potatoes and seed potatoes in Alliance, Lincoln, Kan., and Holyoke, Colorado. They grow seed only in Gordon. The employee-owned operation is one of the largest seed growers for Frito-Lay, and has been working with the company since the late 1970s.

What are farmers in England investing in to increase income?

Almost half of all farmers in the south-east and east of England have already invested in non-farming activities such as building lets and agro-tourism, as they seek to diversify their income sources, Farmers Weekly reports. The survey found almost one-third of farmers have already invested in things such as tourism and letting building, with another 15% expecting to do so in the next three years.

Canada: PVY in 2019 New Brunswick crop near lowest levels since regulatory caps began

Recent research presented at the N.B. Potato Conference and Tradeshow, Feb. 6th 2020, has highlighted the low levels of Potato virus Y (PVY) in the 2019 seed harvest in New Brunswick, Potato Country magazine reports. PVY levels in the N.B. industry have dropped dramatically since 2009. Average PVY level in all tested potato seed lots harvested in 2009 was 11.8%, which over a decade dropped to only 0.63% in the 2019 harvest.

Washington State trial program: Helping potato growers diagnose seed-borne issues

A Washington state trial program highlights the seed-borne diseases impacting potato crops across the region. The Washington Commercial Potato Seed Lot Trial has been conducted for 56 years since 1961. This useful trial also helps individual growers diagnose seed-borne issues that occasionally show up in their crop. Prof Carrie Huffman Wohleb at Washington State University explains how it works in an article published by American Vegetable Grower magazine.

Branston hopes for purple patch for Violet Queen potato variety

Branston, potato supplier based in the UK, is asking shoppers whether they want to see its new Violet Queen variety become a mainstay of the potato aisles as part of its launch of the eye-catching purple variety, Fruitnet reports. Violet Queen is being launched into selected Tesco stores for a limited time from this month, having been developed for its unusual colour and rich texture.

Coronavirus Opinion: When a danger is growing exponentially, everything looks fine until it doesn’t

There’s an old brain teaser that goes like this: You have a pond of a certain size, and upon that pond, a single lilypad. This particular species of lily pad reproduces once a day, so that on day two, you have two lily pads. On day three, you have four, and so on. Now the teaser. “If it takes the lily pads 48 days to cover the pond completely, how long will it take for the pond to be covered halfway?” The answer is 47 days. Moreover, at day 40, you’ll barely know the lily pads are there.

Backing up biodiversity: CIP deposits potato seed in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The International Potato Center (CIP) recently joined 34 other organizations across the globe in depositing more than 60,000 seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a biodiversity bunker in a mountainside of an Arctic island in Norway. That mass deposit of seeds of an array of crops helped raise the number of samples stored in Svalbard to more than one million, but for the CIP genebank, it was just the latest such delivery in an ongoing effort to back up its extensive collections of potato, sweetpotato, Andean roots and tubers, and the wild relatives of those crops.

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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