Study: Consumers in Spain prefer fresh potatoes; buy potato products also via e-commerce channels

Image result for la patata frescaAccording to a news story published by the Spanish website Argenpapa, consumers in Spain bought a total of 1,32 million kilos of potatoes during March 2016 and March 2017 – 6.3 million kilos more than in the same time period for the previous year. This translates into an increase of 87 million euros. A study done by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment in Spain found that consumers prefer fresh potatoes, a segment that represents more than 70% of total potato consumption, or 22 kilos per person annually. The average consumption of all potato products (including processed) is about 30 kilos per person per year. Households with single and retired adults have the highest consumption rates, which stand at an average of 41 and 43 kilos per person per year respectively. The study further found that potatoes and potato products bought by Spanish consumers through e-commerce channels grew by 21% since 2016. Read the full story in Spanish

Potato export topics in the spotlight at upcoming seminar in Idaho

Related imageSpudman magazine reports that the Idaho Potato Export Seminar will be held August 30 in Sun Valley as part of the Idaho Grower Shippers Association annual convention. Both events are set for the Sun Valley Inn, with the export seminar running from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Topics will include a global market assessment, field testing processes, phytosanitary requirements, risk mitigation best practices, partnering with logistics and broker companies and managing financial concerns. All growers, shippers and processors are welcome to attend. The seminar will be hosted by the Idaho Potato Commission, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture and the Idaho State University Research Center.

More potatoes planted in Western European countries

patataAccording to a news story published on the Spanish web site Revista Mercados, a total of 131,640 ha of potatoes were planted in France this year – 5.1% higher than 2016, and the second consecutive year that more potatoes were planted in that country. In 2016 the planted area grew 5.3% compared to 2015 (125,250 ha). The total potato area planted in Belgium was 5.4% more than in 2016, totalling 96,281 hectares – 21.5% more than the five year average. The area under cultivation in Germany has grown by 4.5%, totalling 171,900 hectares; in the Netherlands there was an increase of 4.1%, totalling 75,800 hectares; and in the UK farmers planted 4% more potatoes than last year, amounting to 103,200 hectares. (figures based on data released by the Association of Northern European Potato Producers, NEPG). In Spain the area under ​​potato cultivation in 2016 was 73,196 hectares, 4.4% more than in 2015, according to Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and the Environment. Potatoes worth 146 million euros were imported to Spain from France last year. Spain exported potatoes worth 123 million euros in total in 2016. Read full article in Spanish

Germany: Agrarfrost celebrates 50 years of “passion for potatoes”

Agrarfrost feiert 50 Jahre "Leidenschaft für Kartoffelgenuss" / Geschäftspartner und Vertreter der Politik nahmen an Jubiläumsfeier teil / Christian Wulff, Bundespräsident a.D., hielt Festrede In a pavilion at its headquarters, Agrarfrost, Germany’s largest producer of frozen potato products, celebrated the company’s 50th anniversary. More than 600 guests from Europe, Africa, America and Asia were in attendance. Agrarfrost CEO’s Eike Stöver and Manfred Wulf welcomed amongst other guests the honourable former German President, Christian Wulff. “Our long-standing and reliable partners are of great importance to our family business, whether they be policy makers, associations, our customers and suppliers or potato growers – we can only be successful as a company because of all these good partnerships,” Eike Stöver said in his address. Agrarfrost processes approx. 550,000 tonnes of potatoes per year to produce its frozen potato products. Approximately 200 contract farmers cultivate potatoes on 8,000 hectares to supply Agrarfrost with raw product. Read full article in the German language

Idaho growers report ‘significantly’ lower yields in early harvest

Related imagePotato industry officials report yields are down significantly as Western Idaho growers commence with their early harvest of Russet Norkotahs for the fresh market. Growers statewide anticipate having more average production during their general harvest in a few weeks, as the crop will have time to continue progressing, though they don’t expect to approach last year’s record volumes. They expect tuber quality will vary dramatically from field to field, based on site-specific conditions during a prolonged heatwave this summer. But growers also say they’re optimistic about strengthening prices, given Idaho farmers planted 15,000 fewer potato acres this season and should have a reasonable-sized crop to market. In Eastern Idaho, Ritchie Toevs, president of the Idaho Potato Commission, anticipates his yields will be down by about 60 hundredweight per acre from last season. Capital Press report

Smell is an important part of snacking, study finds

Image result for mccain smell

Smelling McCain’s jacket potatoes at a bus shelter…

Aroma is an essential component of the snacking experience for millennials, and many want their food products to immediately emanate the smell of their central flavors, according to a recent survey published in Bakery and Snacks. The survey included 1,000 male and female participants from the U.K., Germany, France, Spain and Poland. Food and beverage manufacturers have long known that consumers eat with all five senses. Pringles performed an experiment where they played the sound of different chips crunching for consumers. The brand determined that the sound a chip makes when broken was a strong indicator of whether it was stale or fresh. Pringles used that feedback to modify its chips’ texture, as well as its packaging and marketing campaigns, to reinforce the sound of fresh chips. Food manufacturers such as McCain Food have also leveraged product aroma in order to create multi-sensory experiences for their consumers. Continue reading

Applied Research: Ground-penetrating radar could help producers dig potatoes early

Dr. Dirk Hays, plant geneticist, is using ground-penetrating radar to test for early maturing potato varieties. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)

Ground-penetrating radar might help the potato industry save water, according to Dr. Dirk Hays, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant geneticist in the soil and crop sciences department at College Station. Hays’ latest project utilizes ground-penetrating radar to select early maturing potato cultivars, which can help producers make harvest decisions and increase water-use efficiency. His project is in coordination with AgriLife Research and the department of horticultural sciences potato breeding program conducted by breeders Dr. Creighton Miller and Dr. Isabel Vales, both at College Station. “We know radar will work on potatoes,” Hays said. “Radar works on detecting objects that are denser than the soil environment they are in. Potatoes are very moist versus the sandy soils they are grown in, so it’s relatively easy to image the potatoes with the ground-penetrating radar.”  Continue reading

World’s largest event on agricultural biostimulants to be held in November

Image result for biostimulantsAgricultural biostimulants include products that are applied to plants or soils to regulate and enhance the crop’s physiological processes, thus making them more efficient. Biostimulants act on plant physiology to improve crop vigour, yields, quality and post-harvest shelf life/conservation.The 3rd Biostimulants World Congress will take place in Miami, Florida on Monday November 27 until Thursday November 30. It is organized by New Ag International. This event should be of interest to many individuals involved in the potato industry. Biostimulant specialists from several countries around the world will present during the event. Continue reading

Grimme to present new machines at Potato Europe 2017 event

: La VARITRON 470 Platinum TERRA TRAC est disponible en version 75 cm ou 90 cm.

VARITRON 470 Platinum harvester

During the Potato Europe 2017 event on 13 and 14 September in Emmeloord, the Netherlands, GRIMME will present a large number of new potato machines developed by the company. For the first time, Grimme will introduce the VARITRON 470 Platinum, a new generation of 4-row self-propelled harvesters powered by a 435 HP engine and equipped with a non-stop 7-ton Bunker hopper. One of the strengths of this machine is the improvement in driving comfort. The new ErgoDrive control concept is said to make direct and quick access to all functions easier. The SV 260 tractor-pulled potato harvester will be used on the demonstration field at the Potato Europe site, with the high performance Vario RS and MultiSep separators as well as a 5.5 ton NonstopBunker hopper in operation.  Continue reading

Scottish potato seed sector battles with blackleg

Scotland currently produces 75% of the UK's seed potatoesMajor players in Scotland’s seed potato industry, as well as myriad public sector organisations and the Scottish Government, are teaming up to fund new research into the devastating crop disease, blackleg. According to Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), blackleg caused the downgrade of 8% of Scottish seed crops in 2011. The disease spurs the soft rot of potatoes and can even kill off entire potato plants. In addition to the Scottish Government, the £242,000 research project has been sponsored by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, with McCain Potatoes Ltd, Greenvale AP, Cygnet Potato Breeders Ltd, Agrico UK Ltd, APS BioControl Ltd, HZPC, Caithness Potatoes Ltd, Branston Ltd, and Techneat Engineering also supporting the study. Report by The Scottish Potato Farmer

Research breakthrough: Novel way to convert potato waste into ethanol

potato peelsResearchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have developed a novel approach to more efficiently convert potato waste into ethanol. This process may lead to reduced production costs for biofuel in the future, and also add extra value for chip makers. Using potato mash made from the peelings and potato residuals from a Pennsylvania food-processor, researchers triggered simultaneous saccharification — the process of breaking down the complex carbohydrate starch into simple sugars — and fermentation — the process in which sugars are converted to ethanol by yeasts or other microorganisms in bioreactors. This research is reportedly of great interest to Keystone Potato Products in Hegins, Pennsylvania, a subsidiary of Sterman Masser Inc. The company is paying attention to this project, hoping this novel approach may help it add more value to its waste potato mash. Continue reading

European potato crop progress: Bulgaria crop expected to be down; Poland up

According to a news report published by FreshPlaza, Bulgaria’s potato production will be smaller this year due to adverse weather conditions. Ventsislav Kaimakanov, chairman of the National Association of Potato Producers (NAC), said in an interview with Focus News that “the potato harvest will be notably reduced because of climatic conditions. Losses have been recorded in many fields, so the production will be smaller than in previous years.” Kaimakanov noted that problems were reported in all major production areas. He also explained that about 450,000 tonnes are needed every year to meet the Bulgarian demand, but even in the best case scenario only 200 to 250,000 tonnes can be produced in the country and the rest need to be imported.  Continue reading

Storage Technology: Innovative new sensor nominated for Award

The Tolsma-Grisnich storage technology company developed a unique temperature sensor to measure the temperature at different locations and heights within a bulk potato storage facility. The product, in essence a 5 meter long cable, is said to measure temperature differences quite accurately at different locations, and the developers figure that the device provide storage managers with more fine-tuned control over temperature regulation in a storage facility. More measurements closer to each other can be obtained. It is easy to install multiple sensor cables whilst a storage bin is being filled during loading operations. The product has been nominated for a Potato Europe 2017 Innovation Award. Judges reportedly called it a “beautiful forward-looking solution in storage technology, with practical application potential”. Full report in Dutch published on Agf.nl. Tolsma-Grisnich will also launch a new version of its mobile phone app for storage management during the Potato Europe 2017 event in the Netherlands in September.

UK: Legal bid to reclaim £161,000 from potato merchant

Scott CouplandA Perthshire potato merchant in Britain who carried out a £161,000 tax evasion is facing a legal challenge by prosecutors to reclaim the money. Scott Coupland, 48, was jailed for two-and-a-half years in February after being found guilty after a four-day trial at Perth Sheriff Court. The Crown Office has now launched the action under Proceeds of Crime legislation. Coupland made two false VAT repayment claims between March 2011 and November 2012. The trial heard that Coupland, sole director of WDR Coupland (Produce) Ltd, had used the money to fund his lifestyle and pay for private school fees for his children. (Source: BBC)