US: Innovative project to transform potato processing waste into bio-ethanol and protein concentrate

Related imageGreenbelt Resources Corporation in collaboration with Biofuels & Energy, LLC announced today the San Luis Valley Bioproducts Project, known as SLV Biopro. The project is designed to produce up to a half a million gallons of bio-ethanol from an abundance of potato waste available in the San Luis Valley area of Colorado. SLV Biopro is devised to provide a viable solution to potato processing industry waste. It plans to be the first independently owned, local-scale bioethanol solution in Colorado and will be tailored to utilize the local supply of potato processing industry waste in the San Luis Valley region. Within this area, 55,000 acres are cultivated for potato crops. The resulting bioethanol will be sold for both fuel and industrial uses, including by Colorado’s cannabis processing industry as a “green” extraction solvent. “SLV Biopro will create a cost-effective transformation of potato processing industry waste into value-added bio-products including protein rich feed,” says Darren Eng, Greenbelt Resources CEO. More

Cutting edge: How Australian potato growers stay at the forefront of innovative research

Image result for AARON HABY australia potato growerThe Australian potato industry continues to be at the forefront of innovative research, with world-leading production practices resulting in increased efficiency and profitability on-farm. The high quality of Australian potato produce is made possible by ongoing investment in research and development, and this is once again highlighted in the latest edition of the publication “Grower Success Stories: Real results from the potato R&D levy.” In this edition, published by Horticulture Innovation Australia and AUSVEG, you will find examples of growers who have enjoyed real benefits and success as a result of their involvement in strategic levy investment projects under the Hort Innovation Fresh Potato and Potato Processing Funds. Read how grower John Jackson tapped into international expertise to combat the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) problem. Tasmanian seed potato grower Andrew Wilson is using a DNA-based soil testing service that helps growers with paddock and disease management planning. It has given him the confidence and peace of mind to manage existing crops and plan for future growth. It has not only identified potential disease borne soil, but allowed Andrew to switch potato varieties better suited to his soil.  Continue reading

Ireland selected to host 2021 World Potato Congress and Europatat Congress

The Irish Potato Federation – with the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Bord Bia, Failte Ireland and Teagasc – has won the bid to host the World Potato Congress (WPC) in 2021 in Dublin. It is envisaged that 1,000 delegates, from developing and developed countries across the globe, including growers, researchers, producers, traders, processors and manufacturers, will attend the congress. The Irish Potato Federation has also secured the simultaneous hosting of the Europatat Congress, which is the annual congress of the European association of the potato trade. The president and CEO of World Potato Congress Inc, Romain Cools, said: “Ireland has a very important historical and cultural connection with the potato going back hundreds of years. The World Potato Congress in Dublin will be the perfect follow-up to this year’s congress, which will be held in May 2018 in Cuzco, Peru. I will be working closely with the Irish Potato Federation over the coming years and really look forward to visiting Dublin in 2021 for the Congress.” More

Potato starch facility to open in Denmark

Potato starch facility to open in DenmarkThe functional native starches market is to benefit from a new $22.5M (£16M) potato starch production facility in Denmark. Cargill and its Danish potato starch partner AKV Langholt plan to open the unit at their joint production facility, near Aalborg, later this year.The facility will allow Cargill to expand its SimPure portfolio of functional native starches. “This investment demonstrates our commitment to providing food manufacturers with the functional native starches they need to meet the demand of today’s label-conscious consumers,” said Simon Waters, global food starch leader at Cargill. More

Waste not: Potatoes South Australia partners with researchers to produce vodka from potato skins

The transformation of food waste with limited value to a premium product with high value is on the agenda through a project being undertaken by Potatoes South Australia, the University of Adelaide and Adelaide Hills Distillery. While potatoes are traditionally used to make vodka in many parts of the world, these three organisations are partnering to look into the feasibility of making vodka from potato skins – helping to increase returns for growers on what would otherwise be waste product. The University of Adelaide is undertaking research into the most effective technique to create vodka from peel, taking advantage of its extensive capabilities in analytical chemistry, wine science and sensory science, and starch profiling. This is being paired with the expertise of Adelaide Hills Distillery to turn it into beverage spirit. To read more about this project and the new value-adding opportunities it’s uncovering for potatoes, have a look at the February/March 2018 edition of Potatoes Australia magazine (page 18 of the online version). This article appeared in the AUSVEG Weekly Update published 20 March 2018.

Profits dip at potato supplier Branston, but ‘performance satisfactory’

Profits dip at major potato supplierProfits have dipped at one of the UK’s largest potato businesses, which is headquartered in Lincoln, despite a rise in turnover, according to new accounts. Branston, which supplies own-label products to supermarkets, such as Tesco, as well as selling under its own brand, has reported a drop in pre-tax profits from £7.7m to £6.4m for the year to 30 July 2017. However, during the same period, the company’s turnover rose from £123.2m to £143m. The company said the increase in turnover was due to a rise in volume and higher raw material costs as well as the market operating “consistently” above contract pricing. A statement signed off by the board said: “During the year, performance has been satisfactory and, as far as the board is aware, this is likely to be the case in the forthcoming year. More

Trend: More Chinese taking to potatoes

Foods made from potatoes are reportedly more popular than before in China, although the prices are slightly higher. The changes have come about as China began boosting the total potato cultivation acreage, making the potato one of the country’s top staples to better ensure food security under the pressure of dwindling farmland, water and labor assets, among other issues. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, China will have more than 6.67 million hectares of potato planting areas by 2020. “Potatoes grow well, are easily planted and stored, and boast rich nutritional content,” said Li Xuewen, an official with Dingxi’s potato industry office. As the government campaign deepens, more companies are taking a bigger slice of the market. Dingxi, a leading potato-growing base in Gansu, has 15 potato-based food processing manufacturers and 22 production lines, with annual production capacity exceeding 120,000 metric tons. The booming potato industry is also benefiting farmers. More

UK: Bad weather hits Produce Investments’ Greenvale potato business

Produce Investments, the potato and daffodil farming group with significant interests in Scotland, today said bad weather recently had hit its planting programme. The company, which is behind Duns-based potato producer Greenvale, said potato planting in Cornwall has been severely delayed by the very wet conditions experienced in the early part of 2018. Planting of Jersey Royals on the island is also now significantly behind plan. “We remain confident of a good season for Jersey Royals in 2018, though the slow progress of the crop to date will result in a later running season with some sales being deferred until our next financial year,” the firm said as it announced half year results. Chief executive Angus Armstrong said: “The recent poor weather has resulted in a delay to the start of the planting season, however, the board currently expects underlying trading profit for the full year to be broadly in line with its expectations.” More

Spud planting in Great Britain races to catch up after late start to season

Potatoes are plantedEarly potato planting along the Suffolk coast is racing ahead to try and catch up from a wet weather-delayed start with tuber numbers and hence yields feared to be down this season. Farm manager Tim Pratt says this is the latest start to planting in the 17 years he has been farming in this early potato producing region due to heavy rainfall since December. The fear is this late start might mean a delayed harvest when early crops from the mild microclimate along this coastal strip of Suffolk look to hit the shops after early potato liftings from Jersey and Cornwall. He is picking out the very lightest of his light blow-away sandy land to push on with planting to try and still aim for his first harvested crop being lifted in the last few days of May. “This is the latest we have ever started, it has been stop-start progress and a matter of picking the lightest land,” he told Farmers Weekly. More

Idaho Potato Commission launches new video series: Idaho Potato Life Hacks

The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) has partnered with Ivan Nanney, former member of the Big Idaho® Potato Truck’s Tater Team and’s newest Cancun Experience Officer, to create a series of Idaho® Potato Life Hack videos showcasing the many uses of Idaho® potatoes beyond a recipe ingredient. These DIY (Do It Yourself) tater tricks use Idaho® potatoes to increase efficiency, safety, and creativity in everyday life. “Although Idaho® potatoes are one of America’s favorite vegetables, a lot of people aren’t aware of just how multifunctional spuds can be,” says Frank Muir, President & CEO, IPC. “So whenever you’re in a pinch, there’s a good chance an Idaho® potato can help. We like to call them ‘delicious and functional’.” Here are six Idaho® Potato Life Hacks that can make your life a little easier,  a few more ways Idaho® potatoes can help… More. And watch all the Idaho® Potato Life Hacks videos

Bayer-Monsanto merger ‘could reshape agriculture’

Seed and chemical giants Bayer and Monsanto said Wednesday that they will merge to become one of the world’s biggest agriculture giants, a $66 billion mega-deal that could reshape the future of farming and enhance their influence over the planet’s food supply. Bayer said it will spearhead the largest all-cash buyout in history in hopes of taking over St. Louis-based Monsanto, the world’s largest supplier of genetically modified seeds. The merger marks one of the most prominent signs yet of the broadening acceptance of genetically modified foods. The deal would also further strengthen the companies’ grips on vital seeds, pesticides and farm technologies, a concerning turn that critics said could raise prices, reduce choice and stifle innovations needed to feed a growing world. More

EU greenlights $66bn Bayer-Monsanto deal; sell some businesses to rival BASF

Image result for Bayer-Monsanto dealBayer has received the green light from the EU to buy Monsanto on Wednesday, after promising to sell off substantial parts of its business, clearing a major hurdle to the last of a trio of mega-mergers consolidating the global agrochemical industry. The German company promised to sell some of its herbicide and seeds businesses to rival BASF to alleviate the watchdog’s concerns that the tie up with the giant American agribusiness would cut competition in the EU and lead to higher prices, lower quality, a cut in choice and less product innovation. Bayer will also license BASF its digital farming portfolio. BASF agreed to buy Bayer’s non-selective herbicide business and some of its seeds business in October for €5.9bn, and has recently agreed a further purchase of its rival’s vegetable seed business for around €1.5bn. European authorities are considering the competition implications of these sales to BASF. More

Researchers from the US, Indonesia and Bangladesh creating GMO potato to fight late blight

Image result for potato late blightResearchers from the U.S., Indonesia and Bangladesh is creating a genetically-engineered potato to fight the late blight. The disease remains an issue for farmers worldwide, especially in Bangladesh, where many struggle with hunger. “Late blight is the number one constraint for potato production, and Bangladesh has a perfect environment for this disease,” said Jim Bradeen, co-director of the University’s Stakman-Borlaug Center and a scientific advisor for the project. The United States Agency for International Development’s Feed the Future partnership, led by Michigan State University, is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota and the University of Idaho, along with the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute and the J.R. Simplot Company. The researchers are working to implement durable disease resistance in potatoes using three disease-resistant genes, Bradeen said. Since the pathogen that causes late blight disease can evolve and become resistant to the genes designed to protect the crop, researchers hope using three genes will be an adequate defense. They hope to introduce the potato in Bangladesh in the next six months to a year. More

UK: New Knowledge and Innovation Facilitator to help address potato storage challenges

Laura Bouvet has been appointed Knowledge and Innovation Facilitator for Agri-Tech East and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB); the first time the two organisations have collaborated in this way. As part of the new jointly funded role, Laura will support a number of innovation projects with growers – drawing on her extensive knowledge of plant pathology, genomics and advanced breeding. Her knowledge will be highly beneficial for her work with AHDB, which will focus on its Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research (SBCSR) facility, which provides controlled environment facilities for research into optimum crop storage conditions. Sprout suppression in potatoes is an area of particular interest for growers. Dr Rob Clayton, AHDB Strategy Director for Potatoes, says: “This is a crucial time for Laura Bouvet to join the SBCSR team to help address the immediate challenges facing our growers and store managers. “We already know some of our stores use three times more energy than others and it’s compromising productivity and an individual’s bottom line.” More

UK and Ireland: Broad-spectrum fungicide can now be used to control rhizoctonia in potato

Image result for Zoxis successfully re-registered in UK & IrelandZoxis, a broad-spectrum fungicide from Arysta LifeScience, has been successfully re-registered for use in the UK & Ireland, and can now be used on a wider range of crops. Benefits of the product, which contains azoxystrobin, include control of diseases such as septoria, fusarium and rust, as well as promoting beneficial physiological and greening effects. It offers translaminar, systemic and protectant activity and is for use in resistance management programmes. Following successful re-registration, Zoxis has gained a range of additional uses, including oilseed rape, field beans and various field vegetables. It can also now be used in-furrow for control of rhizoctonia in potato. These are in addition to the existing registration, which includes application on wheat, barley and asparagus. More