British Potato Industry Award nominations now open

The awards celebrates the recognition of those who have contributed a significant service to the industryNominations for the coveted ‘British Potato Industry Award’ and ‘AHDB Above and Beyond Award’ are now open. The British Potato Industry Awards celebrates the recognition of those who have contributed a significant service to the industry over a considerable period-of-time. The AHDB Above and Beyond award is presented to an exceptional performer or to an individual who has made a significant achievement over the last five years. The Chair of AHDB Potatoes opened nominations in June praising the passionate and dedicated individuals in the sector. Sophie Churchill OBE, said: “In my first months as Chair of AHDB Potatoes I have been struck by the skill and enthusiasm of those in our industry, growers and everyone in the supply and processing chain, to ensure we have a quality product meeting future market needs. The potato sector is a leader in UK agriculture and this is your chance to highlight individuals and show appreciation for their hard work.” More

University of Idaho reports light potato psyllid pressure

Potato psyllids, like the insect pictured above, can spread the Liberibacter bacterium that causes zebra chip disease in potatoes. Some Idaho farmers are saving a bit of money on insecticidal sprays due to light potato psyllid pressure. #Pressure from the tiny, winged insects that spread zebra chip disease in potatoes has been light this season, emboldening some Idaho farmers to scale back on their pesticide programs. Zebra chip, which is caused by the Liberibacter bacterium and spread by potato psyllids, first arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 2011. The disease creates bands in tuber flesh that darken during frying, rendering spuds unmarketable. University of Idaho Extension entomologist Erik Wenninger, who runs an extensive field monitoring program to gauge psyllid populations, said the first psyllid of this season was captured in late May — about the same timing as last season. However, a single psyllid, captured at UI’s Kimberly Research and Extension Center, has tested positive for Liberibacter this season. Wenninger said zebra chip was found in a few fields last season, but the incidence of the disease was relatively low, especially given the high psyllid densities. More

‘Challenges’ over Scottish seed potato exports

Seed potato growers who have been confident that crucial trade with Egypt and other non-EU markets would not be disrupted by Brexit may be in for a shock. According to Peter Hardwick, the export chief of levy body AHDB, securing the future of exports such as potatoes and malting barley to third countries is complex and presents “real challenges”. Around 75% of seed potato exports are sent out of the EU, mainly from Scotland, and Mr Hardwick said the industry needed to be “realistic” to ensure there was continuity in these markets. “When you look at existing EU trade agreements in detail, the UK is listed separately, so it may be relatively straightforward to disentangle ourselves and enter into a bilateral agreement with the third country,” he said. More

Droogte heeft beperkt effect op oogstraming aardappelen

De droogte van de afgelopen weken heeft vooralsnog beperkt invloed op de verwachte opbrengsten van de belangrijkste gewassen in de EU. Dat stelt het onderzoeksbureau JRC van de Europese Commissie in de laatste uitgave van de Monitoring Agricultural Resources die op 26 juni is gepubliceerd. In vergelijking tot de uitgave van eind mei ligt de geraamde aardappeloogst slechts 0,7% lager. Zie voor meer informatie de publicatie JRC MARS Bulletin June 2017.

Punjab gets new potato centre

Punjab would soon set up a potato center at Dhogri (Jalandhar). The idea is to promote seed potato production. This center will be built under the Indo-Dutch agreement with the help of mission for integrated development of horticulture (MIDH), according to the local press. An official spokesman said that Wouter Verhey, agriculture counselor, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Delhi along with Anand Krishnan, Deputy Counsellor Agriculture (India and Sri Lanka) visited the office of Director Horticulture Punjab to discuss about the progress of this center. (Source: Potato Business)

Bad year for French potato production

Potato production in France has decreased for the second year in a row to 6.8 million tons, 4% below the volume recorded last year and 5% below the five year average. 2015/2016 had already seen a 12% decrease compared to 2014/2015 due to the drought over the summer in 2015. Despite an increase in acreage (+5% in a year), the decrease in yield is linked to unfavourable weather conditions. Yield has decreased to 39 tons/hectare in 2016/2017 compared to 42.5 tons/hectare in 2015/2016 and a 44 tons/hectare five year average. The decrease in potatoes is also noted in other European countries. Over the first 8 months of the 2016/2017 season prices increased by 41% compared to the year before, more than doubling (+113%) compared to the five year average. It is the second year in a row that prices have increased. (Source:

Spanish potatoes sold on Amazon

Innovating, modernising, profitability, adapting to the consumer of the 21st century… these are some of the concepts that are always mentioned in any forum addressing the agro-food industry and looking to the future. According to Juan Manuel Coello, Operations Director of Patatas Meléndez, “It is undoubtedly certain that the mindset of the current buyer is very different to that of previous times, and we have to adapt to new forms of consumption, current trends in food or new purchasing systems.” In this sense, Patatas Meléndez started selling some of its products through Amazon a little over a month ago. “It’s been a long process. We’ve been negotiating with them for three months, showing them that we meet their requirements. It’s an attractive new option and we believe that, with time, it will attract many customers.” Moreover, the company is selling three formats that seek to satisfy different market trends, thus offering the producer new options, new varieties and new ways of working with a more than interesting profitability.

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New independent chair for Potatoes South Australia

The leading representative body for the potato industry value chain, Potatoes South Australia, has appointed experienced Director and Chairman Dr Andrew MacDonald, as its new Independent Chair, at a meeting of the Association’s Board in Adelaide, yesterday. Dr MacDonald replaces Mr Brian Cunningham who has been in the role since 2013.  Mr Cunningham said that the Board was very pleased to announce Dr MacDonald’s appointment as Potatoes South Australia enters into an exciting new phase of its evolution. “We’re delighted to have someone of such a calibre, both globally and domestically, come on board to help guide Potatoes South Australia as we look to build on the momentum we have built over the last four years,” Mr Cunningham said. Dr MacDonald said he was delighted with his new role. “Potatoes South Australia has a unique opportunity to represent and drive this important sector of the state’s primary production. The Board is made up of a highly skilled group of Directors and collectively the Board recognises and looks forward to addressing the challenges in the industry going forward”.  Continue reading

Canada: Potato demand strong in Quebec

Quebec Parmentier introduced a ready to cook foil tray of yellow-flesh potatoes. They can be cooked in the microwave, oven or on the grill.Quebec’s love affair with potatoes shows no sign of fading. While 10-pound bags are still a big seller, the success of specialty spuds from Edmonton, Alberta-based Little Potato Co. is inspiring the province’s growers to try new varieties and package their own lines. “Little Potato Co. kits continue to surpass objectives, showing double-digit growth month after month,” said Dino Farrese, executive vice president of Boucherville, Quebec-based product specialist Bellemont Powell. Farrese said Quebecers love the ease and convenience of not having to peel potatoes and being able to cook them on the barbecue or in the microwave. “It offers a fresh, quality side that people are going crazy for,” he said. More

Potato oversupply due to crop pest is driving Western Australian growers out of the industry

Joe Mercuri holds out four healthy-looking potatoes to the camera.An oversupply of potatoes in Western Australia is driving several South West growers out of the industry. Farmers were dealt a blow in February this year when an exotic pest — the tomato potato psyllid — was found in Western Australia. The pest detection led to restrictions on exports of the entire state’s potato crop to the east, resulting in an oversupply of potatoes in WA. It came after a tough year in 2016 for growers, with the closure of the Smith’s Snackfood Company crisp manufacturing plant in Canningvale and deregulation of the potato industry. The Potato Growers’ Association of WA is launching a new advertising campaign. The association’s executive officer, Simon Moltoni, said he hoped the campaign would encourage WA consumers to eat more local spuds, and ease the glut. More

Key Technology presents VERYX® digital sorters to Australian food processor

Key Technology introduces its VERYX® family of digital sorters to the Australian food processing industry with the VERYX C140 on exhibit at the FoodPro trade show in Sydney 16-19 July, 2017. Featuring an innovative system architecture and advanced inspection technology, VERYX sorters maximize the detection and removal of foreign material (FM) and product defects based on objects’ color, size, shape and/or structural properties while minimizing false rejects to enhance product quality and increase yields. With belt-fed and chute-fed configurations available in various widths, VERYX handles a wide range of products and production throughputs. Belt-fed systems sort frozen and fresh cut fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, potato chips and other snacks, confections, seafood, wet and frozen potato strips and more. Chute-fed systems sort nuts, dried fruits, IQF products and other free-flowing foods. The inspection width of every VERYX sorter is 10-15 percent wider than comparatively sized sorters, which enables higher throughputs within a similar footprint and better singulation of product to improve sorting accuracy.  Continue reading

US: 10th Annual Crop Transition Conference delivers valuable information

The 10th annual Crop Transition Conference was held last Wednesday in Bloomington, Minnesota; a conference many who attended call the most valuable meeting of the year. The conference which is organized by the United Potato Growers of America (UPGA) was first held in 2008 and was focused only of the red potato market.  The leaders at UPGA were aware of how every year the red market crashed in August  when the large summer red crop hit the market out of Central Minnesota (Big Lake). This was not just a problem for the growers from Big Lake but also the storage states that inherited the price like the Red River Valley, the nation’s largest red shipper. In most years up until 2008, the Red River Valley entered the market with their fall crop before the summer crop from Big Lake was wrapped up.  Data compiled by UPGA and communicated to growers at those early meetings found the problem wasn’t as much with over-supply as it was with timing.  It became evident that growers in different regions needed to communicate with each other to find the best marketing window for each of their crops.  Continue reading

Engineer builds self-powered driving potato…

Image result for Guy Builds a Self-Powered Driving Potato That Turns Out to Be a Better Pet Than a CatEngineer Marek Baczynski took what is a common science class experiment – lighting a light bulb with a potato – to the next level, and built what could be the world’s first autonomous potato… A single potato doesn’t generate a lot of electricity, but if you collect that slow trickle into a capacitor—a sort of battery—you get enough of a charge to power a pair of electric motors. After sitting motionless for a quarter of an hour, Marek’s upgraded potato, which he named Pontus, was able to drive in a quick short burst for just over three inches, or a top speed of around 24 feet per day. Marek eventually added the ability for Pontus to randomly choose a direction it could drive in when charged up, and aside from just spinning in circles, at times it would find sunlight to park in, or seemingly followed him around the room. Slow Pontus was, but your cat most likely moves even less from sunup to sundown. Pontus never needed food, water, or bathroom breaks, and didn’t once attempt to shred a sofa. In other words, it really was the ideal pet…  Watch video

UK: Potato planted area estimated to increase by 4%

Image result for potato fieldAHDB Potatoes Market Intelligence Analysts estimate the total area planted with potatoes in Great Britain this season is 121,000 hectares. The figure was announced today (Monday 26 June) during a public webinar. This is up by four per cent on the previous year, the same as 2014 and at a similar level to the area planted in 2012 and 2013. The increase in area in Britain matches similar estimates from across the channel. The North-west European Potato Growers (NEPG), which covers Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK, estimated a combined increase of 3.6% for last month. Despite area increase, final production figures will depend on the yield of potatoes per hectare. AHDB market analysts’ considered various yield scenarios, pointing to a likely rise in production.  Continue reading