News March 2020

How the potato chip got its healthy new snack status

Potato chips have come a long way since the first mass produced varieties in the early 20th? century. Since then, the product has taken on many different forms to cater to evolving consumer needs, writes Thiago Roriz, TNA Solution’s General Manager for Latin America, in an article published by BakeryandSnacks.com. But it’s not just new flavours; potato chips have been gaining ground on the health front too.

Screening for higher-yielding crop traits revolutionised

To drive progress toward higher-yielding crops, a team from the University of Illinois is revolutionising the ability to screen plants for key traits across an entire field, writes Hugo Claver, Web editor for Future Farming, in a recent article. The team analysed data collected with specialised hyperspectral cameras that capture part of the light spectrum (much of which is invisible to the human eye) that is reflected off the surface of plants. Using hyperspectral analysis, scientists can tease out meaningful information from these bands of reflected light to estimate traits related to photosynthesis.

Dutch courage: The ‘potato covenant model’ shows the way for breeding blight-resistant varieties

Across the channel in the Netherlands a remarkable thing is happening. The whole supply chain has worked together through the ‘Potato Covenant’ to shift the organic potato sector to 100% use of robust, blight-resistant varieties. So, why not in the UK, asks Phil Sumption in this article published on his blog Agricology.

GRIMME opens ‘test track’ for self-propelled harvesters

GRIMME announced on Friday that it has opened a ‘test track’ for self-propelled harvesters in the industrial area of Niedersachsenpark in Rieste, Germany. The goal is to use the track to put the performance of self-propelled harvesters to the test and train service technicians. It is located next to Grimme’s self-propelled harvester factory.

‘Potatoes in Practice’ event cancelled for 2020

The Potatoes in Practice Committee announced that the 2020 event, scheduled to take place in August in Dundee, was cancelled. The next event was scheduled for Thursday 12 August at Balruddery Farm, Angus. The Committee says cancellation of the event this year will allow those in agriculture to focus their resources, abilities and attention on the most pressing matters which are prioritising primary agricultural production and keeping the population safe.

Europatat confirms its commitment to support members amid COVID-19 crisis

In the latest Europatat Newsletter published today, it is said that as the COVID-19 is spreading through Europe, and on top of the terrible human component and personal challenges that the outbreak is causing, there is also an unprecedented widespread disruption to companies involved in the trade of agricultural products. Europatat says the potato sector faces a difficult time and the organization is active in supporting members, citing examples.

Hugely successful online marketing campaign a saving grace for South Korean potato growers

Since securing a box of face masks during the coronavirus outbreak has become an impossible feat in South Korea these days, some people have settled instead for a box of potatoes, reports Esther Chung in the Korea JoongAng Daily. With the help of the Gov of Gangwon province, several thousand tons of potatoes were sold online in a couple of weeks.

The founder of Farm Frites International passed away

Piet de Bruijne earlier today announced that his father, Gerrit de Bruijne has passed away. Mr de Bruijne was the founder of Farm Frites International. He was born in 1933. The Board of Directors of Farm Frites International in the Netherlands issued a statement regarding funeral arrangements and ways in which you can pass on your condolences to the family.

Canada: Even the humble potato threatened by climate change

You can go down to your grocery store of choice and pick up five pounds of potatoes in Canada for a “Sir Wilfred Laurier” and change. Stolid, stable, and starchy, the potato is the essence of a staple crop. A potato plant is a living thing, and it’s no more immune to environmental stress than the next sessile organism, Colin Hodd of Cape Breton Post reports.

Inspiring: 90-year-old lady who beat coronavirus credits God and potato soup

A 90-year-old woman from Washington state is praising God, her family, and her homemade potato soup for helping her overcome the coronavirus, Katherine Rodrigues of Breitbard reports. “I beat the coronavirus,” Geneva Wood, of Kirkland, Washington, told Good Morning America. Last week, her family got the news that their mother was clear of the coronavirus.

UK: Retail demand for potatoes down slightly after lockdown and as panic buying eases

In the Friday March 27 issue of Potato Weekly, issued by AHDB Potatoes, it is said that anecdotal reports suggest that retail demand has started to lessen this week following the nationwide “lockdown” since Monday night. This has been suggested to be due to a reduction in panic buying as supermarkets introduce limits on purchasing.

NPC welcomes ag benefits in COVID-19 Relief Bill

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed end of the week in the US, a $2 trillion bill with significant benefits to the US potato supply chain. National Potato Council (NPC) President Britt Raybould said, “We appreciate the commitment of our leaders to support U.S. ag producers. With spring planting underway in many areas of the nation, this bill lays the groundwork to improve the odds of a sustainable growing season.

Irish specialty potato producer fights coronavirus with new contactless drive-through spud shack

A purple potato producer who saw her niche business flatline overnight has started a contactless drive-through spud shack. Maria Flynn of Ballymakenny Farm, outside Drogheda, Co Louth was supplying many top restaurants and bars across the country with heritage potatoes when Covid-19 virtually closed the hospitality industry overnight.

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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