Frito-Lay subsidiary in Egypt launches important programme for local potato seed production

Image result for chipsy egyptChipsy 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

Factsheet: Best management practices to minimize the spread of PVY

Related imageThis 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.

Calculator to help potato growers calculate amount of seed needed for planting

Image result for potato seed plantingExtension 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

Canadian breeder brought botanical potato seed to China for variety now worth billions in benefits

Junhong Qin, Research Assistant, CIP, surveys a local potato farmer.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

Investments boost productivity at Australian seed potato producer

GAINS: Agronico harvested 4,000 tonnes of seed potato. Picture: SuppliedJust 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)

Potato farm with Michigan roots reaching across continents

Image result for Potato Farm With Northern Michigan Roots Reaching Across ContinentsSixty 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

Injury prone: What dicamba damage does to potatoes, and how to fight it

Plant injury from dicamba has been in the news for the past two years. In the potato world, there are always concerns of potato plants’ unintended exposure to herbicides. “We have been gathering data to determine what effect dicamba has on seed tubers and potato plants,” according to Andy Robinson, extension research potato agronomist with North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota. Dicamba injury on potato tubers is expressed as elephant hide, smaller tuber, and/or malformed/cracked tubers. “We typically see greater tuber malformations as a result of herbicide injury when plants are exposed during tuber initiation through early tuber bulking. At high enough concentrations, dicamba residues can carry over in tubers,” according to Robinson. “This is problematic for commercial production, because dicamba residues are not allowed by the EPA in potatoes for food. Seed potato plants can have slower emergence, a reduced stand and injured leaves, all resulting in a lower yield.” More

Certified seed: Measure seeks to prevent potato diseases in Michigan

Michigan farmers with more than an acre of seed potatoes would face new requirements under a bill passed by the Michigan Senate and House: to plant only certified seed potatoes. The intent is to reduce the possible spread of diseases that could have a major economic impact on the state’s agricultural industry, supporters say. Michigan ranks ninth among the states in potato production with 47,000 acres planted, according to the Michigan Potato Industry Commission. The crop contributes $178 million annually to the state’s economy. Rep. Roger Victory, R- Hudsonville, the main sponsor of the bill, said Michigan is one of the only potato-producing states that doesn’t currently have a certified potato seed law. Chris Long, a potato specialist at Michigan State University, said the bill is a good thing and would better regulate seed that is at a higher risk to the potato industry and prevent it from ever being planted. More

Potato seed treatment said to help growers start strong with insect and disease protection

Related imageRhizoctonia solani is a pathogen that is often present in soil or on seed tubers and can have a major impact on young plants. It causes diseases such as black scurf and stem canker. Wet and cold soils favor disease development, and infection can result in major damage underground. If fungal lesions expand too quickly in relation to plant growth, stolons and stems may be girdled and die. Syngenta’s CruiserMaxx Vibrance Potato insecticide/fungicide seed treatment helps growers start strong with insect and disease protection. It provides 3 industry-leading fungicides for Rhizoctonia, Helminthosporium and Fusarium protection plus an insecticide component to protect against key pests through the Cruiser Vigor Effect. CruiserMaxx Vibrance Potato helps enhance germination, increase vigor and improve stand establishment, while improving size and tuber distribution to maximize quality yields. Video and report by Potato Grower

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

Small is beautiful: Innovative technology delivers ‘highest quality early generation seed potatoes’

Image result for technituberHaving grown to a team of over 150 people and with established global operations in Canada, China, India, Africa and the Middle East, Technico can provide services to its clients wherever they are located. “Our greenhouse operation in New Brunswick, Canada is run by an all-Canadian team of hardworking, mature women,” says Production Supervisor, Darlene Hogan. “We started our greenhouse operation in April 2003, and have run two growing cycles each year since then. TECHNITUBER® seed technology provides us with a key platform for the rapid introduction of new varieties and the production of high-vigor early generation seed potatoes. Using this award winning technology, we are able to produce affordable clean seed years earlier than traditional methods.”  Continue reading

Seeds of Change: True potato seed trialled in Bangladesh

Image result for true potato seedThe production of potatoes from “true potato seed” (TPS) is being trialled in Nilphamari, Bangladesh. This method involves allowing potato plants to mature until they produce male and female flowers. With cross-pollination the plants then bear a greenish fruit about the size of a small tomato. The fruit are full of seeds. These “true seeds” can later be planted to establish another potato crop. The main advantage of producing true seeds is easy storage. True potato seed can be stored securely and simply, in an airtight glass jar. According to Ataur Rahman, the assistant director of the Domar Foundation farm where the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation sponsored trial is underway, “only 600 grams of seeds are needed to sow an acre and produce a 4.5 tonne yield. To achieve 3.5 tonnes of potatoes per acre using tubers, around 720 kilograms of potato tubers would be required at the outset. Thus the true seed method is significantly more practical at the planting stage, and also produces a better harvest.” More

New product to offer ‘greater efficacy against tuber-borne Rhizoctonia’

Related imageAt its annual potato agronomists’ conference on 25th January, Bayer launched a new potato tuber treatment – Emesto Prime DS – that will be available for British growers to use on this year’s plantings. Introducing the product Bayer’s campaign manager for root crops Edward Hagues described it as the new, improved tuber treatment. “Compared with Monceren DS – the long-standing powder standard – Emesto Prime DS brings even greater efficacy against tuber-borne Rhizoctonia. “Whatever measure you take – black scurf incidence on tubers, crop emergence, final stand, tuber size distribution or marketable yield – it’s improved,” Mr Hagues said. More

Australian potato market opens up in Indonesia after trade discussions

Australian potato growers are winning new access to valuable Indonesian markets after a decade-long campaign opened the potential to export up to 85,000 tonnes of seed potatoes with a market value of some $110 million annually. A new agreement to take certified seed potatoes from South Australia and Victoria in Indonesia was made at recent trade discussions in Melbourne, following 10 years of negotiations between industry groups, growers, exporters and governments. It’s a valuable new market for local growers, according to Potatoes South Australia chief executive Robbie Davis, who believed the strong collaboration between the two states was key to sealing the deal. Potatoes had been on the Indonesian menu for many years, Ms Davies said, but the more affluent, middle classes were now experimenting in cooking with potatoes in new ways. More

Combination of mineral oils and insecticides to minimize PVY spread on seed potato farms

Potato virus Y (PVY) is one of the most damaging potato viruses and a serious threat to the successful production of an acceptable seed lot around the world. It can cause mosaic on potato leaves, and affect yield and quality. Yield losses range from 10 to 80 per cent. The use of mineral oils and a combined approach of mineral oils and crop barriers have been under the spotlight the past number of years around the world as potential practical in-season solutions to aphid control. Mineral oils are an attractive option as they can reduce toxicity to both humans and the environment; they can be applied with existing spray equipment and potentially reduce PVY spread. Recent studies have also shown that the combination of mineral oils and insecticides act to minimize on-farm PVY spread on seed potato farms. Frequent mineral oil spraying that starts early and continues all season long, supplemented often with insecticides in a simultaneous spray, have shown the greatest potential. More