In a research paper published recently online in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, scientists from Hefei Institute of Physical Science in China claim they have developed a nano-material that inhibits the sprouting of potatoes. The material is named “hydrophobic nano silica” (H-SiO2) and was developed through the modification of nano silica by amino silicon oil (ASO) – and then applied as a sprout inhibitor on potato tubers. The researchers say the material suppresses the formation of toxic glyco-alkaloids that typically is associated with the sprouting process. They further claim that treated tubers did not show a negative effect as far as germination is concerned when planted as seed. The material is said to be easily removed by washing prior to cooking since it does not penetrate the skin of tubers and thus does not pose a food safety risk. Although not commercialized at this point in time, the new material does seem to be of interest to those who specializes in potato sprout inhibitors. An abstract of the research and contact details can be found on the website of the ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering journal.
Around the world, blackleg of potato is caused by several species of bacteria that can be carried and transmitted through seed tubers. Potatoes Australia spoke to Agriculture Victoria Research Scientist Dr Rachel Mann and ViCSPA General Manager Dr Nigel Crump about the identification and management of the blackleg disease. The main causal agent of blackleg in Australia is Pectobacterium atrosepticum although another bacterium known as Dickeya dianthicola was discovered in Western Australia in 2017. Dr Rachel Mann has been assisting with the traceback of the disease. “Blackleg is something that people can readily identify in the field, although it is not possible to determine which bacteria is causing it,” Dr Mann said. Seed tubers are the most important source of inoculum in the blackleg disease cycle. Therefore, management of the disease largely relies on the use of certified seed. “Due to the use of clean seed, blackleg is not very prevalent in Australia,” said Dr Nigel Crumm. Read full article on p20 of the June/July issue of Potatoes Australia
Jamie Rankin is one of the largest growers in Ireland. Recently, a Kenyan delegation had visited him to learn how the Irish grow their potatoes, with farmers harvesting up to 50 tonnes per hectare. To grow seeds, he buys tissue-culture seedlings from Tops. Gerry Doherty, a manager at Tops, says with the advancement of science, testing of seed tubers to ensure freedom from especially viral diseases has become an integral part of their certification scheme. Rankin’s potatoes and those from other farmers across the country have a ready market at several factories, including Keogh’s Crisps a potato processor based in North Dublin. IPM Potato Group is working on bringing the Irish potato technology to Kenya. Read more
The door has been opened for UK seed potato producers to export to Kenya after three British varieties were recommended for release in the country. The announcement follows trials involving AHDB, James Hutton Ltd, SASA and Seeds2B Africa (part of the Syngenta Foundation). Ten potato varieties were tested at three separate farms over two seasons with free variety Cara, and two James Hutton Ltd varieties, Gemson and Lady Balfour, making the grade. Already about two to three million tonnes of potatoes are grown annually in Kenya, making it the country’s most important food crop after maize, however most farmers use home-saved seed and achieve yields as low as 10t per hectare. Jonathan Snape, head of James Hutton Ltd, added: “We are delighted that two of the varieties we bred for Greenvale AP and Grampian Growers have performed so well in these trials and we will be engaging with representatives of the Kenyan potato industry in order to open up this potentially important new export market. Read more
E.W. Gaze Seeds Co. in St Johns Newfoundland and Phytocultures Ltd. based in Prince Edward Island are working together to bring new types of potatoes to Newfoundland and Labrador from Chile in South America. E.W. Gaze Seeds Co. specializes in selling “high-quality vegetable and flower seeds,” according to the company’s website. Recently the store started giving away free samples of Chilean potato varieties (supplied by Phytocultures) to local gardeners who will plant the potatoes and see if they will grow well enough in the rather harsh local conditions. The sample potato seeds soon ran out due to eager demand. The new type of potatoes were developed by plant propagation specialist Don Northcott, who founded Phytocultures in 1986. Continue reading
British seed potato producers are considering Cuba as an export destination after recent meetings with government officials in the country. While British producers are technically able to export to Cuba they have not been able to take advantage of this market due to a lack of awareness on how to get products into the country. However, fresh discussions have led to the development of a clear process for exporting product into Cuba. Presently, Cuba currently imports 17,000 tonnes of seed mainly from the Netherlands and France. Canada used to be a supplier but in recent years European sources have been preferred. According to Rob Burns, AHDB Heads of Crops Export, Britain is looked on favourably by the Cuban Government due to a high health status. If growers are interested in nominating crops for Cuban exports they are urged to compile a list to send to SASA by the end of June, and SASA will work with Cuba’s export company Alimport to identify Cuban companies looking for British seed. Read more
A survey was undertaken in Scotland to monitor seed and ware tuber production in Scotland for the presence of Dickeya spp., in support of Scottish legislation introduced in 2010, which established a “nil” tolerance for Dickeya infections in seed crops. This survey was risk-based and targeted stocks which held the greatest risk of carrying or contracting the disease. This survey was carried out in conjunction with the annual tuber surveys for Clavibacter michiganensis ssp. sepedonicus (potato ring rot) and Ralstonia solanacearum (brown rot) to comply with EU Commission Directives 2006/56/EC and 2006/63/EC, which requires member states to survey their potato production for the presence of these bacterial quarantine pathogens. A total of 212 samples were tested. Dickeya spp was not detected in any of the samples. Read more
U.S. fresh and seed potatoes from all U.S. states are now permitted entry into Guatemala, a welcome expansion of market access from only one permitted state four years ago. On May 14, 2018, the USDA confirmed simplified phytosanitary certificate requirements that eliminate previous state-by-state limitations. Potatoes USA worked closely with the USDA to fully open Guatemala to U.S. table-, chip- and seed-stock potatoes. The small Central American country is a target market for Potatoes USA promotion programs. Potatoes USA hosted a Guatemalan plant health official in 2017 to attend the International Seed Symposium. In 2017, Guatemala imported over 24,000 metric tons of U.S. potatoes and potato products, valued at $27.5 million, making it the U.S. potato industry’s 13th-largest market globally. (Source: Potatogrower)
Dutch potato cooperative Agrico says it has managed to expand its market share “in all markets” as prices for seed potatoes continue to improve towards the end of the current season. With strengthening demand for chipped potatoes (french fries) in north-west Europe and a good balance between supply and demand in overseas markets – despite certain political and financial challenges – the group informed its member producers that the 2017 harvest would generate an average benchmark price of €260 per tonne for all sizes and classes, higher than originally anticipated at the start of the current commercial campaign. “At the beginning of the season, at the transition from the old to the new harvest, it became clear that the supply of ware potatoes within the European Union exceeded demand with a low price level as a result,” the company reported. Managing director Jan van Hoogen said the group was satisfied with the latest result. More
Chipsy for Food Industries in Egypt, a subsidiary of Pepsico (Frito-Lay) announced a significant new programme for the local production of potato seed. “This comes as a result of Chipsy’s long journey of conducting scientific research and field trials, which saw it being rewarded for its use of innovative and state of the art technologies,” the company said in a press release. Through this programme, Chipsy will be able to provide locally cultivated seeds to the Egyptian market. In 2017, the project helped the company to provide 70% of its seeds from local sources, and thanks to this programme, 100% of Chipsy’s potatoes are now locally sourced. Tamer Mosalam, general manager at Chipsy Egypt, stated, “we are very proud of launching this programme, as it will strongly affect the overall Egyptian agricultural sector, the consumer, and definitely the economy.” More
This factsheet is based on recent research done in Canada by Dr. Mathuresh Singh and his team in New Brunswick on PVY, which just concluded in March. This research has been very successful in identifying which production practices are most associated with reducing the spread of PVY. At the same time, PVY post-harvest test results in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have improved significantly in recent years, as these best practices are being more widely adopted. The factsheet was compiled by Ryan Barrett, Research & Agronomy Coordinator at the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, and published on the Peipotatoagronomy.com website. The document can be accessed here as a pdf file.
Extension agronomist Andy Robinson, working in extension and research for potato production in North Dakota and Minnesota, recently uploaded a seed calculator to the website of the North Dakota State University website. A pertinent subject for the season is calculating planting rates. Robinson developed a table in xls format that can help you calculate the amount of potato seed needed to plant at different row widths, within-row spacing, and by seed piece size. Formulas are available in the tables to enable users to put their own numbers in if the preset numbers do not accurately represent planting on your farm. Go to this page to download the calculator
In the mid 1980’s, potato breeder and grower Peter VanderZaag, based in Ontario, Canada brought the botanical seed of the Cooperation-88 (C88) potato variety to Yunnan province in China. The C88 variety developed from that seed eventually became one of the most important potato varieties in Asia and it ended up being grown on 1 million acres (200,000 ha) of land annually. The estimated present value of benefits from planting C88 in Yunnan ranges from a low of US$ 2.84 billion to a high of US$ 3.73 billion. In a recent report published by the CGIAR, the impacts of this variety, developed by CIP in partnership with Chinese researchers, is assessed. It is said that tremendous benefits have been generated by the variety – and are still accruing. Starting in the mid-1980s, in response to the devastating effects of late blight, the International Potato Center (CIP) and Yunnan Normal University collaborated to develop the Cooperation-88 (C88) as a late blight resistant variety. C88 was officially released in 2001 and quickly became popular. Its success was attributed to its high yield, high quality, and good taste, in addition to late blight resistance. Read full report
Just a month into harvest and Australia’s biggest potato seed producer, Agronico, is reaping the benefits of recent investments through a 30 per cent increase in productivity. Agronico has invested heavily in its business over the past 12 months through its new coolstore at Spreyton and adding a four-row planter, canopied hoppers and twin-row harvesters to its fleet, chief executive Robert Graham said. “In the first three weeks 4,000 tonnes of seed potato were harvested with minimum downtime from rain, productivity has increased each year, but this is the best result so far,” he said. “At each stage of the process our efficiency is improving; harvest is quicker because of a combination of factors.” Agronico will continue to invest in infrastructure to support its capabilities. (Source: The Advocate)
Sixty percent of the potato chips made in the United States come from potatoes grown in Northern Michigan. It all starts at the Sklarczyk Seed Potato Farm, located in Michigan. “The greenhouse operation is something my father started in the early 80’s and my father grew up on the diversified farming operation and he was looking for a way to make a batter potato and that led him to the tissue culture lab and the greenhouse operation and it’s grown and evolved from there,” said CEO of Sklarczyk Seed Farm, Ben Sklarczyk. Once the Sklarczyk family perfected the potato – it was time to perfect the technology they use. “Now our facility is 100% hydroponics so we are growing our potatoes without the presence of soil,” he explained. It allows them to check in on the potatoes regularly since they’re not buried in the soil. “The process starts with the tissue culture lab on the cutting process and at that point we will get plants from different plant breeders from different universities throughout the United States,” he said. Read report and watch video