Key Technology and Heat and Control announce strategic partnership in Australia, New Zealand and India

Key Technology, Inc., a member of the Duravant family of operating companies, and Heat and Control Pty Ltd. announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership to support customers in Australia, New Zealand and India. Under the terms of the agreement, Key has appointed Heat and Control as their exclusive agent to sell and service Key’s digital sorters, vibratory conveyors and other automation systems in Australia, New Zealand and India, effective immediately. The partnership leverages Heat and Control’s extensive sales and service organization to sell and support all of Key’s equipment in the defined regions, including providing application testing, field service and spare parts. Additionally, Heat and Control will manufacture select Key-designed vibratory conveyors at their facilities in Australia and India in strict accordance with Key’s specifications. Bringing these two well-established, world-class suppliers together to achieve a common purpose augments both companies’ value propositions and benefits customers.  Continue reading

‘Challenge is to guarantee quality of potatoes,’ says trader in Belgium

The potato market in Europe is still under pressure because of the dry weather. “The rain that fell in recent days, is a bit too late. The damage has been done. Some varieties will recover somewhat, but yields will be low. Yields are between 15 and 30 tonnes, and that’s very disappointing,” says Bart Nemegheer of De Aardappelhoeve in Belgium. It’s difficult to fulfil the contracts on the market, because growers don’t have the potatoes. “Last week there was a meeting between industry and the potato sector, and it was decided to relax quality requirements somewhat. People are looking for a solution, but this year is just going to be problematic.” Because of the extreme heat, the sprout dormancy was interrupted, says Nemegheer, “resulting in a worse storability. It will be a challenge to guarantee quality up to the end of the season.” Read more

Washington Potato Commission exec: ‘We’re out of acres’

“We just don’t have any room for any more potatoes,” Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington Potato Commission, says.Washington potato exports continue to grow each year but not as fast as those of competing countries, said Chris Voigt, executive director of the state’s Potato Commission. Potatoes from the European Union have cut into Washington potatoes’ market share on the Pacific Rim, Voigt said. “We’re starting to see a lot of European french fries showing up in Japan, China and places where we normally didn’t run across as much of them,” he said. “We’re actually hoping there’s a way we can grow or plant more potatoes here in Washington, because we know there is demand in the Pacific Rim, but we’re out of acres,” Voigt said. “We just don’t have any room for any more potatoes.” The only way to increase exports is to cost-effectively bring more water to dryland production areas, or somehow increase yields, Voigt said. “We’re trying to work on both of those,” he said. Read more

‘Should I Eat Potatoes?’ 5/5 nutrition experts say ‘yes, of course’…

Image result for Should I Eat Potatoes?Potatoes are the most consumed vegetable in America, but that doesn’t stop throngs of tater haters, who malign them as starchy and fattening. So are potatoes healthy?5/5 nutrition experts say yes — and want to shine up spuds’ reputation. “It is a pity that potatoes got a bad reputation for being fattening, because potatoes are a very nutritious, satiating and low-calorie food,” says Trudy Voortman, nutrition scientist at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands. And a 2014 study also found that potatoes don’t, in fact cause weight gain. “When prepared in a healthful manner there is no reason to not eat potatoes regularly,” says study author Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD, director of the Center for Nutrition Research at Illinois Institute of Technology. “They may help in the prevention of certain cancers, and one study found that consumption of them could help in managing blood pressure in obese individuals without weight gain,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, registered dietitian and manager of wellness nutrition services at Cleveland Clinic. Read more in TIME Health. Also read this

PVY-resistant GMO potato variety approved by Argentine authorities

La licencia de uso del evento será de la firma Tecnoplant (subsidiaria del grupo Sidus).Argentine authorities have officially approved the commercialization of a genetically modified PVY-resistant potato variety. The transgenic potato, named TIC-AR233-5, will help growers avoid losses from the virus. The virus can result in yield declines of up to 70%, according to Argentina-based Tecnoplant, which holds the marketing license. The potato will also help growers to use fewer agrochemicals in its cultivation, the company said. The Health and Agri-Food Quality National Service, Senasa, said the product complies with all the necessary requirements, according to La Nación. According to Andrés Murchison, Secretary for Food and Bioeconomy, the new potato could help growers to reduce handling costs and could also boost the quality of the final product. It is expected that regulatory processes for other GMO crops will continue to be optimized in the future, said Murchinson. Read more. Report by Technoplant in Spanish.

The Canadian way: More than 100 volunteers help in harvest after Saskatchewan farmer’s death

It was a day that Jeff Brown will never forget. On Sunday, 20 combines and drivers, along with around 100 spectators and volunteers, joined forces to harvest Brian Williams’ crop of durum wheat in the province of Saskatchewan. Williams died on Friday, right as harvest was getting underway. “We were hoping to get six or eight combines,” said Brown, a family friend and organizer. “Next thing I know, we were telling guys, ‘No, don’t come.’ It just snowballed.” When neighbours heard Williams was in the hospital, they immediately offered their help during harvest but the family held off. After his death, the family relented. “They knew everybody was busy, and had their own stuff to do, and they kept putting us off,” said Brown. “Finally, they said if a few of you want to come together, go tackle a field or two.” Brown said he has never seen such a coordinated effort as the 20 combines harvested the section of land (258 hectares) in a matter of hours. The combines drove in a v-formation, headed up by Williams’ beloved Case IH harvesters.  Read more and watch video

Crispr: Why gene editing is the next food revolution

Related imageZachary Lippman advanced the selective breeding process of tomatoes with a little nip and tuck of the plant’s own DNA, and now the “edited” plant is about to bear fruit in the field. “There’s a long way to go, but what we have able to do in the last four or five years is unbelievable,” says Lippman, a professor of genetics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. “It’s science fiction.” He created the plants using gene editing, a technology—based on a natural process—that allows researchers to cut out certain bits of DNA in order to control traits. The cell’s genetic structure then repairs itself automatically, minus the targeted gene. His tomatoes are now programmed to produce double the number of branches and, as a result, twice the tomatoes. Read full National Geograhic article

Smoke, heat knock Washington State potato crop down to average

Potato harvest in Washington state. Yield and quality look promising, but smoke and heat slowed growth, potato industry leaders say.   Heat and smoke have hindered Washington’s potato crop, industry leaders say. The early part of the crop had been slightly above average in quality and yield, said Dale Lathin, executive director of the Potato Growers of Washington. Smoke from wildfires became more dense, interfering with the potato plants’ photosynthesis, Lathim said. “Basically it did nothing this week in terms of growth,” Lathim said. “The guys had to turn off their water because the plants just weren’t taking it up because they weren’t photosynthesizing.” During field samples two weeks ago, Lathim said, the crop looked well-above average for yield and quality. Last week, samples showed closer to average because of heat and he expects even lower this week. “By the time we get to harvest, we’re still going to be above average, but not by much,” he said. “But the quality should be very good. We’re going to have a very manageable crop. Nothing bountiful, but very good quality, manageable size crop.” Read more

Dewulf unveils 150t/hour Field Loader

Root crop and spud kit specialist Dewulf has launched a stand-alone Field Loader that is able to process up to 150t/hour. Tipping trailers can unload directly into the transfer machine’s 2.4m-wide bunker floor, before the crop is sent through a 10-roller cleaning unit. The openings between rollers are electrically adjustable to reduce the amount of soil and waste in the load and there is space for two people at the inspection table. Material is then directed onto a four-piece discharge elevator, which pivots through 120deg and will reach up to 6,187mm, or 5,630mm when at maximum height, so should be able to reach deep into a waiting truck. Read more

Potatoes and cars: A tribute to the spud on National Potato Day

Potatoes and cars — such an unusual combination… However, there are quite a few scenarios where potatoes intersect with vehicles and transportation. Here are just four car-related celebrations of the spud, to help celebrate National Potato Day on Aug. 19. It’s common knowledge that you can use a potato and some wire to provide electricity to a light bulb. However, few people have modified this experiment to restart a car battery. It turns out that rubbing a sliced potato on your car’s windows will help prevent them from fogging up. The bodywork of the University of Warwick’s Formula 3 eco-friendly race car was made from potatoes. Make extra money…with potato transportation – this is what Alex Craig did when he founded Potato Parcel back in May 2015… (Source: The NewsWheel)

Canadian farmers caught up in fight over chemicals

It’s fair to say that Canadian farmers are feeling a little shell-shocked after not one, but two, decisions in the space of one week that could fundamentally change their access to chemical control. First was the California jury’s decision to award US$289 million to a man dying of cancer after deciding his exposure to the commonly used herbicide glyphosate contributed to his condition and that product labels did not adequately warn him of the risk. The second was a decision announced this week by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, a division of Health Canada, to phase out neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides widely used in canola, corn, soybeans and horticultural crops. These insecticides first came under scrutiny because of their link to unusually high losses of bees and other pollinators. But it is their impact on aquatic insects that are critical food sources to fish, birds and other animals that led to the decisions announced this week. Reaction from the Canadian farm community is a mix of incredulity and outrage. Read more

University aims to strengthen Canadian potato industry

The University of Lethbridge is opening its potato research lab doors to partners and local producers.It’s an industry that professionals say injects more than $1 billion into Canada’s Alberta province’s economy each year. “The potato industry in this province is not just in southern Alberta, but province-wide,” said Terence Hochstein, executive director with the Potato Growers of Alberta. “We have about 55,000 acres of production within this province, making us one of the largest growing areas in Canada.” Hoping to expand on that market, the University of Lethbridge in Alberta has opened the doors to its Potato Research Lab on Friday, which showcases the work being done to support producers when growing the tasty spuds. “It’s a program that has been 10 years in the works,” Hochstein said. “It’s between the industry, the Potato Growers, Cavendish Farms, Lamb Weston, McCain and the university. It’s a collaborative project to create a first-of-its kind program in Canada, specifically focusing on potato research.” Read more

PAA Honorary Lifetime Member ‘put his heart into spud research’

SteveLoveIt’s been 13 years since Steve Love was involved in potato research and development but his effect has not been forgotten. During last month’s Potato Association of America banquet in Boise, Love, a professor of plant sciences at the University of Idaho’s Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, was recognized with the PAA’s Honorary Lifetime Membership for his work in potato research. These days Love is Idaho’s consumer horticulturist specialist helping develop the native plant program at the Aberdeen center. For 20 years he led the UI’s potato variety development program at Aberdeen. During that time Love and the close-knit team of researchers in the Tri-State program were responsible for 12 new varieties, including the Ranger Russet, currently the third most widely grown potato variety in the United States. Love said that receiving the PAA’s Honorary Lifetime Membership was a great honor. Read more