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

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

Potato Expo 2018 now accepting submissions for sessions and panels

The new Potato Expo Innovation Hub is now open and accepting abstract submissions for the Potato Expo 2018, the largest convention and trade show for the potato industry drawing more than 2,000 attendees and over 180 exhibiting companies. Potato Expo takes place January 10-12, 2018 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida. Program coordinators for Potato Expo seek a variety of educational topics from farming and research to consumer trends, food safety, globalization, food service, labor and use of marketing and social media to network, increase sales and more. Sessions and panels will take place at the Potato Expo Innovation Hub “Main Stage” located on the Trade Show Floor. “Our goal is to increase the breadth and depth of the educational offerings both on the show floor and in breakout sessions,” says Jim Tiede, co-chair of Potato Expo 2018.  “We’re looking for thoughtful, innovative and relevant sessions that will provide information to attendees that can assist in better business practices.”

Continue reading

Trend: Driverless farming robots could work the fields of the future

The 2017 Cereals show in Boothby Graffoe in Lincolnshire. Pictured: The Anatis crop-weeding robot.Swarms of automated farming robots could hold the key to future productivity and workforce concerns, according to one exhibitor at the 2017 Cereals show in the UK. Demonstrated in the new Fields of the Future zone at the show in Lincolnshire was the Anatis machine, made by French company Carré, which is described as a “connected agricultural co-bot”. Guided by GPS, it trundles between the rows of brassica plants, mechanically removing weeds, while a series of cameras gathers data on the crop plants, counting and measuring them so the operator can plan their management and see any areas of stilted growth which require further attention. Sean Stanfield, sales director for TRP Imports in Sleaford, said five of the battery-powered machines will be working commercially in France by the end of the year, and he will be taking UK orders for 2019. More

Oro Agri offers late blight solutions to potato growers

Potato BlightIn May ORO AGRI International sponsored the EuroBlight 2017 Workshop for the first time and presented a paper in the “Control Strategies” session chaired by Huub Schepers from Wageningen University and Research. The workshop, organized by EuroBlight, the potato late blight network in Europe, took place in Aarhus, Denmark. The main objective of the event was to present and discuss results on integrated control of late blight and early blight. Tim Buchheim, ORO AGRI Business Development and Technical Support Manager, highlighted how two of the company’s products could offer new possibilities in late blight control. “PREV-AM, our flagship product, is a multipurpose insecticide and fungicide containing the active substance orange oil,” explains Tim. “Our other key product is the adjuvant WETCIT which incorporates TransPhloem technology,” says Tim. More

UK: European agribusiness representatives visit Hutton Institute to establish potato links

German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce visitors (c) James Hutton LtdJames Hutton Limited, the James Hutton Institute’s commercial subsidiary, has welcomed two delegations of European visitors to the Institute’s Dundee site as part of efforts to share knowledge and ideas with a huge variety of interest groups across the globe. A group of 20 visitors from the German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce visited the Institute as part of a market research trip to investigate the potato supply chain in the UK and Ireland. After a brief introduction to the Institute’s work, the delegation visited the Commonwealth Potato Collection (CPC), the UK’s genebank of landrace and wild potatoes, which is held in trust at the Dundee site. Similarly, a group of 25 members of FIWAP, a non-profit organisation responsible for the promotion and improvement of potatoes and seed potatoes in the southern Belgian area of Wallonia, visited the Institute’s site in Dundee to gain a close understanding of the Scottish potato seed and exporting industries  Continue reading

US: Alsum Farms and Produce launches ‘Powered by Potatoes’ contest

International disease summit will focus on dickeya, pectobacterium

Image result for dickeya potatoTwo bacteria threatening the potato industry worldwide will be the focus of a Potato Disease Summit, November 9th in Bangor, Maine, convened by the University of Maine. Plant pathologists, researchers and scientists from The Netherlands, Scotland and five U.S. states will present the latest information on dickeya and pectobacterium. In the past three growing seasons, dickeya blackleg disease has caused significant economic losses in seed non-emergence and crop loss nationwide. In addition, an associated pathogen, pectobacterium, has caused potato crop losses in the field and in storage. The bacteria have caused losses to the potato industry in Europe for an even longer period. The Potato Disease Summit will be 8 a.m.–5 p.m., on November 9th at the Cross Insurance Center, 515 Main St., Bangor, Maine. This summit is for scientists, consultants, regulatory officials, potato seed growers and buyers. Registration deadline is Oct. 2 and is available online. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call Steve Johnson at 207-554-4373, or e-mail him at

Simplot fertilizer recognized by NASA

Simplot’s GAL-XeONE controlled release fertilizer was recognized at the 33rd annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for innovating the way fertilizer nutrients are released in a controlled manner, the J.R. Simplot Company said in a press release. The product uses a polymer coating for its controlled release capability developed by Florikan, LLC and its founder Ed Rosenthal. Simplot purchased the technology in 2012, and has helped create an international distribution channel for the fertilizer. Florikan was inducted as an “Innovating Organization” into the Space Technology Hall of Fame at the ceremony. In addition, The J.R. Simplot Company was recognized with a commendation for the role it played in allowing world-wide distribution of the fertilizer.  Continue reading

Texas A&M to make designer potatoes to increase consumption

(Source: Texas A&M AgriLife Research)The Texas A&M AgriLife Research is making designer potatoes to increase potatoes consumption. “The average consumption in the U.S. is 113 pounds per year per person. But overall potato consumption in the U.S. has generally declined somewhat.” said Dr. Creighton Miller, a potato breeder with Texas A&M AgriLife Research. Miller said the objective of the Texas A&M potato breeding program is to develop improved varieties adapted specifically to Texas environmental conditions. “So what we are doing now is developing unique varieties that have a tendency to appeal to the younger set with high income who are willing to try something different,” he said. One type is a small potato, he said, adding that within the trials he is looking for varieties with a heavy set of small potatoes. More

Italy: Is this the potato of the future?

Agrico’s PK060108 variety might be the perfect new potato selection for Romagna. This option was discussed on 29th May 2017 in San Mauro Pascoli (Forlì-Cesena) during a technician day held at azienda agricola Fratelli Tramonti, organised by Consorzio Agrario Adriatico. “The PK060108 selection from Agrico (Netherlands) had excellent performances. I believe we will hear its name again and again in the future,” explained Crea Bologna researcher Bruno Parisi. More

UK: Growers missing out on increased yields that precision farming offers

Growers could be missing out on increased crop yields and improved soil quality if they overlook adopting the latest precision farming techniques. A three year AHDB project, which is now in its final year, has so far revealed UK growers could be benefiting from controlled traffic farming (CTF) techniques, resulting in better soil quality and increased yields. Part of the study assesses the use of CTF in horticulture to reduce field area wheeled by machinery in order to develop soil structure and lead to less energy intensive cultivations. Dr Paul Newell Price, RSK ADAS, said: “Controlled traffic systems can improve the efficiency and profitability of horticultural production by increasing opportunities to access the land, reducing input costs and evening up yields across each planted area.”  Continue reading

Peru: Cusco to host World Potato Congress 2018

World Potato Congress 2018, the largest event for the potato industry worldwide, will be held in South-Andean city of Cusco (Peru), bringing together the sector’s most respected representatives, researchers and trade leaders. This is the first time the triennial event is held in Latin America, International Potato Center (CIP) affirmed. A series of strategic actions have been taken over the past 15 years in Peru to boost the potato industry, on which over 730,000 families depend, meaning 11% (3.65 million people) of the total population. The non-profit World Potato Congress (WPC) Inc., organizer of the event, entered an agreement with the National Institute of Agricultural Innovation (INIA). The accord grants INIA exclusive right to hold World Potato Congress in Cusco next year. More

Accelerating Africa’s economic growth through root and tuber crops

The 13th International Symposium for the International Society for Tropical Root Crops- Africa Branch (ISTRC-AB) has kicked off in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. The four day meeting (5-8 March) brings together over 300 delegates from government agriculture ministries in Africa, development partners, international and national agriculture research organisations, academia, private sector as well as farmers with an interest in root and tuber crops in Africa. Participants will present and discuss latest research, innovations, technologies and trends on root crops. “We hope we will get practical hands-on solutions, that can help address farmers’ constraints in production of root crops, with the modest investment dedicated to research and development of these crops” said Tanzania’s Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries (MALF). He encouraged researchers to work together with the farmers, policy makers and all stakeholders, for co-ownership of research findings to increase chances of technology adoption for the intended improved productivity and utilization of root crops. More

US: Tomorrow’s leaders trained at 2017 Potato Industry Leadership Institute

The 2017 Potato Industry Leadership Institute (PILI) provided training to 22 potato growers and industry representatives in leadership development, public policy, marketing, team building and public communication. The annual program, administered by the National Potato Council (NPC) and Potatoes USA, aims to cultivate the next generation of industry leaders. The PILI was held February 9-16, starting in Bangor and Aroostook County, Maine, and concluding in Washington, D.C. In Maine, the class received an overview of the local and national potato industry. Northern Maine potato grower Dominic LaJoie, NPC Vice President of Environmental Affairs, provided details on the Maine growing season. A PILI alumnus, LaJoie also spoke on how the program has benefited him as a grower and NPC leader. ohn Toaspern of Potatoes USA presented marketing insights, retail sales and the changes in consumer eating habits. He highlighted good news with world potato demand and potential new markets.  Continue reading

US: WPVGA inducts two into Hall of Fame

The Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) inducted two potato growers into its Hall of Fame at its annual awards banquet Feb. 8 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Dick Pavelski and the late Donald Hamerski were honored by the association for their significant contributions to the development of the Wisconsin potato industry, according to a news release. Pavelski is the CEO/owner of Heartland Farms Inc., a large chipping potato and vegetable operation. He has served as president of the WPVGA, as well as serving on the U.S. Potato Board (now Potatoes USA) and the National Potato Council and in the National Fertilizer Solutions Association. Pavelski is a past president of the Wisconsin Fertilizer and Chemical Association as well as the Wisconsin Agri-Business Council. He continues to serve on the WPVGA Chip Committee, according to the release. Hamerski was the owner of Hamerski Farms Inc. until his death Aug. 9, 2016.

US: Growers stand up for potatoes on Capitol Hill

The National Potato Council hosted the 2017 Potato D.C. Fly-In from February 13-16, bringing together more than 150 U.S. potato growers and industry partners from across the country to advocate for the industry’s most pressing federal policy priorities. Growers visited Capitol Hill and met with federal regulators at USDA and EPA. During their Hill visits, growers urged Congress to address key industry issues including: immigration reform, potato breeding research funding, regulatory reform and international trade policy (follow links for details on actions requested). Before attendees took their messages to the Hill, they heard from Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA), in addition to renowned political analysts Dr. Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia Center for Politics and Charlie Cook, publisher of The Cook Political Report. Industry experts on tax, GMO disclosure and the Food Safety Modernization Act also addressed the general sessions. More

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

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

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

Internationaler Berliner Kartoffelabend

Zum 13. Mal war der Vorabend der Fruit Logistica für mehr als 500 Vertreter aus 16 Ländern der glanzvolle Treffpunkt der Kartoffelbranche. Der Einladung des Deutschen Kartoffelhandelsverbandes e.V. (DKHV) folgten hochrangige Repräsentanten aus Politik, Wirtschaft und Medien. Besonders herzlich begrüßte DKHV-Präsident Thomas Herkenrath den Präsidenten des Bundesamtes für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit, Dr. Helmut Tschiersky, unter den Gästen. “Die Verbraucher werden täglich durch übertriebene und schlecht recherchierte Skandalberichte verunsichert und sind oft ratlos, wie sie sich und ihre Familien noch gesund ernähren sollen. Es wird ein Bild in den Köpfen der Menschen gezeichnet, in dem die Landwirte aus Profitgier ihre Kunden vergiften und der Handel dies auch noch unterstützt und fördert, um skrupellos riesige Gewinne einfahren zu können. Als Verband haben wir hier die Verantwortung, dem entschieden entgegen zu treten. Unsere hochspezialisierte Branche wird als solche in der Öffentlichkeit kaum oder gar nicht wahrgenommen; dabei ist die Kartoffel ein heimisches, leckeres, gesundes und sicheres Lebensmittel,” so DKHV-Präsident Thomas Herkenrath in seiner Eröffnung. Mehr

PotatoEurope 2017 – ‘Precision farming in practice’

PotatoEurope 2017 – Precision farming in practiceWith seven months still to go, 50 percent of the exhibition space at PotatoEurope 2017 – the trade show dedicated to the entire potato chain – has already been sold. The theme of this year’s edition – ‘Potatoes feed & meet the world’ – is linked to the potato’s huge potential to feed the world’s growing population. In addition, PotatoEurope in 2017 is the leading platform for the exchange of information related to precision farming for potatoes. This year, PotatoEurope is highlighting the opportunities and practical applications of precision farming for potato growers with a large-scale practical demonstration. This is aimed at showing chain professionals how they can benefit from the use of drones and digital information. An entire crop season will be examined in conjunction with the main sponsor, Case IH. More. Watch video

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada: Our potato varieties have something for everyone

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada: Our potato varieties have something for everyoneWith names like AAC Poppy, AAC Glossy, and AAC Red Viola – today’s marketplace for spuds is no longer as simple as “you say PO-TAY-TOE, I say PO-TAH-TOE.” These potatoes are among the more than 30 varieties developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) that are currently under license by the Canadian industry for sale to domestic and international markets. The process of identifying potato selections that have the potential to deliver on industry needs takes six years to complete before they are shared with the potato industry through AAFC’s Accelerated Release Program. Only a few star performers make the cut each year out of more than 100,000 candidates. Ten to fifteen of the best of the best selections developed by the AAFC breeding program are unveiled to industry during a special annual Potato Release Open House event, held simultaneously at different locations across the country. More

US: International Crop Expo returns for 16th year

The International Crop Expo returns for its 16th year, with its traditional triple-headed focus on potatoes, small grains and soybeans/dry beans. It will take place in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The 2017 version comes with a slight twist: one of its its keynote speakers is Chris Koch, a Canadian farmer born without arms and legs. “That’s a little different for us,” said Lionel Olson, an agronomist who has helped to manage the show for many years. “Normally our keynote speaker has a business or economic aspect. But this is more on the personal side.” Koch, from Nanton, Alberta, speaks at 1 p.m. Feb. 22. “He’s someone who had some bad breaks, but hasn’t let that stop him,” Olson said. “I think it will be a very interesting presentation.” The Ag Expo is expected to draw about 4,000 people and 180 exhibitors. One of the show’s annual highlights comes from top potato industry officials, who this year will speak on the morning of Feb. 22. Mark Klompien, CEO of United Potato Growers of America, will talk from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Blair Richardson, president and CEO of Potatoes USA, speaks from 9:30 to 9:50 a.m. T.K. Kuwahara, global marketing manager of Potatoes USA, speaks from 9:50 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. John Keeling, executive vice president and CEO of the National Potato Council, will talk from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. More

Canada: Potato Management Workshops to be held in Alberta next month

Alberta Agriculture, in partnership with the Potato Growers of Alberta, is holding a number of potato post-harvest management workshops next month. Rob Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture, explains who these workshops are for and what participants will learn. Listen to an Interview with Rob Spencer (3:09 minutes). The potato post-harvest management workshops are being held March 7 in Lethbridge, March 8 in Lacombe, and March 9 in Westlock. To register call 1-800-387-6030. You are asked to do so by February 28.

UK: Winter Forum focuses on industry challenges

Brexit, blight and the future of the potato industry led the discussion at this year’s Winter Forum at Harper Adams University (26 January 2017). The forum was an excellent opportunity to showcase AHDB Potatoes recent work, with trials from both Strategic Potato (SPot) Farms proving to be a particular highlight. Susannah Bolton, Knowledge Exchange Director for AHDB and chairperson for the event, introduced the forum by saying: “This is a great opportunity for everybody to air their views and share knowledge. We’re looking to encourage discussion based on our experiences, we can’t necessarily provide answers on what’s right or wrong, what we are doing is reporting our research.” Sarah Baker, Senior Analyst for AHDB Potatoes, opened the event with a presentation on the industry challenges following the referendum result on 24 June 2016. As an industry worth £4.1bn there has been some concern around the effects of Brexit, and Sarah was on hand to offer advice and words of encouragement. Sarah said: “While Brexit presents industry challenges as a whole, there are significant opportunities for growers going forwards.” Dr David Cooke of the James Hutton Institute provided a clear understanding of the effects of blight. More