US: Food service professionals tour Idaho potato harvest

Kevin Stanger, with Wada Farms in Pingree, Idaho, leads food service professionals on a tour of his facility. The tour was sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission.Twice each week, Egan Click, with Sysco Corp. in Chicago, inspects 100,000-pound rail loads of Idaho potatoes to make certain they meet customers’ size and quality specifications. But Click acknowledges that prior to participating in an Idaho Potato Commission-sponsored harvest tour, he didn’t fully appreciate the “unbelievable” process Idaho growers, packers and shippers follow to meet the standards associated with their state’s seal. Click was among the 28 professionals within the growing food service category IPC included in a Sept. 26-29 tour. Participants representing major potato markets such as Illinois, California, Texas and New York toured potato harvest, a fresh packing operation, a dehydrated potato plant and a frozen potato processing plant. Don Odiorne, IPC’s vice president of food service, said the food service professionals head home with photographs and stories about Idaho potato production to share with their staffs and may become “brand advocates.” More

Spain: Potato prices below production cost

On Wednesday 27 September, potato prices in Leon were oscillating between 40 and 90 Euro per tonne, depending on the variety. This means that, compared to the previous campaign, the price has dropped by about 80%, since on 28 September 2016 it stood at an average of 300 Euro per tonne. Also, the current price can be considered to stand below the production costs, which are estimated to amount to approximately 100 Euro per tonne. This season, the province of Leon has planted 1,527 hectares, practically the same as in the previous campaign, when the acreage reached 1,600 hectares. Yields can be considered acceptable, with potatoes being one of the few crops that have mostly escaped the impact of drought. Current estimates point to about 50 tonnes per hectare. More

Scotland: Mounting frustration over potato harvest

Seed tattie growers and traders are facing mounting frustration as wet weather continues to interrupt the harvest across Scotland. It may still be early days and no major damage to crops is being reported, but soggy ground conditions are now posing serious challenges for producers in many areas. Traders say crops are holding up well in the ground and quality is almost universally good, with yields being reported as average or slightly above average. Levy body AHDB also reports that previous fears of blackleg are now dying down and levels of scab remain low. However there is a huge contrast in lifting conditions across the country, and according to Grampian Growers potato manager David Murdie, around 45% of seed has been harvested around Montrose, while in Aberdeenshire lifting has barely begun. More

Canada: Potato production expected to be down in western Prince Edward Island

The general manager of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board is anticipating this year’s potato harvest to ramp up next week. Greg Donald said the harvest has barely started with a limited supply to fresh pack, chip plant and process markets so far, but that’ s about to change. Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) family farms, the board notes, produce as much as 25 per cent of the Canadian potato crop. The Island’s potato industry creates an economic impact of an estimated $1.065 billion, the board notes, and employs, directly or indirectly, 12 per cent of the Island’s workforce. The potato crop in most areas of the province were impacted by dry conditions throughout July, and those conditions persisted in August, especially in western P.E.I., he said. As a result, he is expecting an average crop in eastern P.E.I. and a below average production in western P.E.I. and on some central P.E.I. farms. Just how much of an impact the weather has had won’t be known until the harvest is well underway.  Continue reading

Potatoes USA calls for communication on upcoming research efforts

Related imageAhead of the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) publishing its fiscal year 2018 request for pre-applications, two industry leaders are calling for those in the research community to publish their plans to seek funding from the SCRI. In a letter, Chairman of the Potato Research Advisory Committee Steve Gangwish and Director of Research at Potatoes USA Ryan Krabill urged those in the potato research community to alert the industry of pending SCRI proposals or plans for an SCRI proposal. They wrote that there is an effort currently underway to develop the foundation for a soil health proposal specific to the potato industry, likely through SCRI. “Soil health is a top priority for the potato industry,” the letter read. “Those of you who are interested in being a part of that discussion are encouraged to let us know directly so that we can ensure that your interest is properly accounted for.” More

Major Dutch potato companies and organizations establish new research association

Ten Dutch potato companies as well as organizations have established a new association: Holland Innovative Potato (HIP), with the goal to facilitate research which leads to higher quality, yield and efficiency in the cultivation, transport and processing of the potato. The partnership also aims to provide insight in the genetics related to stable economic yield and quality. The members of HIP are Avebe, Aviko, Farm Frites, McCain, Lamb Weston Meijer, PepsiCo, Bejo, HZPC, Meijer and Solynta and the two trade organizations NAO (trade) and VAVI (processors). HIP wants to strengthen the potato’s importance as a third food crop (after wheat and rice) in the world.  Continue reading

Rebound in UK potato sowings to end, says Produce Investments

The bounce in UK potato plantings looks poised to go into reverse, Produce Investments said, as it unveiled results showing a recovery in profits, and an appetite for further expanding from its core business in the root crop. Angus Armstrong, the Produce Investments chief executive, told that his “gut feeling” for UK potato sowings for the 2018 harvest was that they would “show a slight decline”. That would follow sowings growth of 4% in both 2016 and 2017. Average UK prices of non-contracted potatoes have fallen back below £100 a tonne, standing at £94.01 a tonne this week – down 49% year on year, according to the AHDB bureau. “Because of decent returns, the agricultural mentality is to put more crop into the ground,” Mr Armstrong said, although adding that Produce Investments – owner of the Greenvale packing business, one of UK’s big three potato suppliers – had not itself followed this trend in its cropping operations. More

Study: World may run out of several potato, coffee, and cacao species by 2055

Image result for wild potato speciesA recent study has linked global warming to depleting food sources as scientists claimed different species of potatoes, coffee and cacao plants faced the risk of extinction due to rising temperatures. Up to 22 percent of wild potato species were predicted to become extinct by 2055 due to climate change and misuse of pesticides. In Ghana and Ivory Coast, where the raw ingredient for 70 percent of world’s chocolate is grown, cacao trees will not be able to survive as temperatures rise by 2 degrees centigrade over the next 40 years, the study claimed. Bioversity International, a group of expert scientists, has said that the “sixth mass extinction” was already under way and a total of 940 animal and plant species were facing extinction worldwide.  Continue reading

Hungary: Crisis in the domestic potato sector

Related imageWhile retail customers in Hungary may be delighted by the prospect of cheaper potatoes, growers are not happy about the fact that purchasers are buying potatoes at a lower price than last year, writes the Hungarian Times. In addition, there is no reason for the drop in prices, as the volume going into warehouses has been notably reduced due to the heat and the quality is far from optimal. Hungarian potato producers are not in an easy position. The hot summer and lack of rainfall have taken a negative toll on the production, so many growers will close the season with significant losses in the yield. Gábor Kecskés, president of the Hungarian Potato Association and Product Board, told the Hungarian Times that this year, growers have had to face extreme weather conditions. The harvest is already underway, but the production going to the warehouses is much smaller than last year’s; many growers reported losses of up to fifty percent, according to the president. More

The Netherlands: Innovative equipment for potato sprout inhibitor applications emits no CO2

In September, the new potato storage season begins in the Netherlands. An atomiser, specifically for the application of sprout inhibitors in potato storages has been designed and is manufactured by Frans Veugen Bedrijfshygiëne bv. The atomiser, named the Synofog, uses a new technique: electro-thermal atomisation. The advantage of this new piece of equipment is that it does not have an open flame. This ensures its safe use with all kinds of sprout inhibitors. Before the development of the Synofog, fuel engines were often used. There was an open flame, and hot airflow. This warm air is created in a different manner with this new machine. The Synofog blows air through a heating element. According to Jos Veugen of Frans Veugen Bedrijfshygiën, “In this way we adjusted the ‘old’ atomiser’s technique to an electric way. The Synofog is much safer and emits no CO2. This is a big plus, because these emissions speed up the potatoes’ ageing process.” More

North America: Potato Sustainability Initiative seeking an Executive Director to lead the partnership

Image result for Potato Sustainability InitiativeThe Potato Sustainability Initiative (PSI) in North America is seeking an Executive Director to support its growing programs into the future. Started by the National Potato Council, the Canadian Horticultural Council and a host of potato buyers, processors and growers in 2010, PSI now involves more than 500 growers, McDonald’s, Sysco, the National Potato Council, the Canadian Horticulture Council, Basic American Foods, Cavendish, Kraft Heinz, McCain Foods, Lamb Weston, Simplot and the IPM Institute of North America. PSI has developed both outcome and practice based sustainability metrics that allow growers to measure and report to supply chain partners improvements in the sustainability of their operations over time. For more information, please visit the PSI website.

New report: Global Potato Fryers Market Research Report 2017 to 2022

Image result for Potato FryerThe newly published Global Potato Fryers Market Research Report 2017 to 2022 presents an in-depth assessment of the Potato Fryers Market including enabling technologies, key trends, market drivers, challenges, and more. This study answers several questions for stakeholders, primarily which market segments they should focus on during the next five years to prioritize their efforts and investments. Stakeholders include potato fryer manufacturers such as Flo-Mech, Heat and Control, JBT, Kiremko, EMA Europe, Wintech Taparia, and several others. The research includes historic data from 2012 to 2016 and forecasts until 2022. The study was conducted using an objective combination of primary and secondary information including inputs from key participants in the industry. The report contains a comprehensive market and vendor landscape in addition to a SWOT analysis of the key vendors. More

Ireland: Meade Potato Co to host a day in the life of a spud

As part of the Boyne Valley Food Series, Meade Potato Company are inviting customers to come and have a behind-the-scenes tour of their farm this week. Spud lovers can attend the company’s farm in Lobinstown and experience a day in the life of the spud – from farm to bag. Friday, September 29th, visitors will be given the opportunity to see what goes into making the perfect spud, from planting to packing. They will learn all about potato varieties, environmentally responsible potato production and much more besides. Afterwards, Meade Potato Co will be treat their guests to a special Bangers & Mash Global dinner on site at the farm, which will feature sausages from the Whole Hogg and, of course, the spud, in all its various guises from around the world – Irish colcannon and potato cakes to the French potatoes Dauphinoise to Swedish Hasselback to Indian curried potatoes. More

Belgium aims to export more frozen potato fries to Malaysia

According to a report by New Straits Times, Belgium hopes to ship in more frozen potato fries to Malaysia, collaborating with restaurateurs and fast food operators in the country. “Belgian chocolates are famous all over the world. Today, we’re seeking to promote Belgian fries here,” said Belgapom secretary general Romain Cools. Belgapom is the association for the Belgian potato trade and processing industry which promotes exports of 4.4 million tonnes of potatoes a year. “Malaysia is a fast growing market for Belgian potatoes,” he told reporters at a media conference and cooking demo at the Food & Hotel Malaysia 2017 event held in Kuala Lumpur today. “We seek to increase our market share here for potato fries. Belgian fries is in third placing here as most of the potato fries served at fast food restaurants are being imported from Northern America and the Netherlands,” he added.  Continue reading

Spain: Patatas Aguilar celebrates its 50th anniversary and announces investment of 4 M€ in new equipment

Last Friday, Patatas Aguilar celebrated its 50th anniversary with an event in Valencia that brought almost 250 industry people together, including employees, customers and suppliers of both table/fresh potato and seed potato companies, including representatives of the Dutch-based seed companies HZPC and Agrico. The celebration was attended by the Autonomous Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development in Spain, Francisco Rodríguez Mulero; including representatives of Carrefor and Consum, as well as numerous agents of the potato production sector. Guests arrived in Valencia from different areas of Spain, France and the Netherlands. The Valencian company has become a leading name in the potato sector, with 50,000 tonnes marketed each season and an annual turnover of almost 20 million Euro. More