US: Wisconsin tour has all eyes on seed potato business

sb_ct_POTATOES1_101817-1Wisconsin’s Central Sands is known for potato crops that are sold fresh and processed as chips and fries, but there is an important growing area in Langlade County that specializes in another type of potato. “There are about 60,000 acres of potatoes in Wisconsin, and this little Antigo area has about 10,000 acres, and about 8,000 of them are seed potatoes,” said JD Schroeder with Schroeder Brothers Farms, one of about 15 seed potato growers in the county. Schroeder Brothers hosted visitors in September from Marathon County’s Partnership for Progressive Agriculture to learn more about the process of growing seed potatoes. Schroeder Brothers manage 6,000 to 7,000 acres of crops with about 30 varieties and 2,200 acres of potatoes in the rotation. About 80 percent of the potatoes are sold for seed and the remainder as fresh table potatoes. Much of the seed stock grown at Schroeder Brothers was initially developed at UW-Madison. More

Canada: Alberta potato growers invited to take part in Thailand trade mission

Alberta seed potato companies are invited to participate in a market development mission to Thailand from November 19-27, 2017. The mission will include stops in Bangkok, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, Thailand to meet with importers, distributors and potential customers as well as touring local potato farm operations. “This mission will profile Alberta as a reliable producer of high quality, low virus seed potatoes,” says Rachel Luo, senior trade and relations officer, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “This will be the first market development mission focused on seed potato suppliers to Thailand since Alberta was granted market access last year.” To be eligible to participate in this mission, companies should be providers of seed potatoes and interested in the Thai marketplace. More

Turkey using local potato seed varieties to combat imports

Turkey’s Niğde Potato Research Institute aims to be more localised in the field of potato seeds. The Institute developed and registered indigenous seeds “Onaran 2015”, “Fatih”, “renowned”, “Nahita”, “Nam”, “Leventbey”, “Çanlı” and “Muratbey”in order to meet his goal. Ugur Pirlak, director of Niğde Potato Research Institute, said that they started breeding in 2005 to solve the problem of imported seed and that they registered 8 potato varieties. Referring to importance of producing seeds, Pirlak, continued as follows: “The largest cost of potato production is seed. The seed is imported from abroad and presented to farmers by replicating in this country. Of course, this situation greatly raises cost of our producers in potato production.” More

Dutch potato breeder HZPC books record turnover and gross profit

Related imagePotato breeder company HZPC, based in the Netherlands, announced during a shareholders’ meeting on 5 October that a consolidated net turnover of €318.5 million was achieved for the financial year 2016/17. The gross profit is €59.3 million and the net result is reportedly €8.5 million. A dividend of €7 per HZPC certificate has been determined, which is €1.25 higher than the previous year and €2 above the five year average. With this net turnover and gross profit, HZPC has achieved new record figures. A higher net profit was achieved in the financial year 2013/14. The takeover of the assets and seed potato activities of KWS Potato together with an acquisition in Russia have contributed to the higher HZPC year figures. In addition to this, the growth is also due to the continuing growth in seed potato acreage and the corresponding increase in seed crop production and -trade. More

A new spud in town: Seed potato trade in a post-Brexit world

After Brexit, EU seed potato producers are set to increase their market share against UK producers. But how much EU producers will benefit depends on how quickly the UK can establish new trade deals. North-western Europe is an important region for providing seed potatoes to Middle-Eastern and African markets. EU members benefit from free-trade agreements that give preferential access to European seed potatoes entering countries such as Egypt and Morocco. Since the UK will no longer be part of the EU post-Brexit, it’s highly likely that the UK will not be able to trade under current EU trade agreements. If no new trade agreements have been agreed on before the UK leaves the EU, UK trade flows will fall under WTO rules. The standard WTO import tariff for seed potatoes is 4.5%, but import tariffs can be as high as Morocco’s 40% tariff on seed potato imports. More

Canada: Cuban delegation eyeing Quebec potato varieties

Cuban Delegation Visits Seed Potato Companies in QuebecA Cuban delegation visited several seed potato companies in Quebec during August, visiting seed production fields, different types of mini-tuber production and in-vitro laboratory facilities in the province. It was the first time an official delegation from Cuba visited seed potato growers in Quebec. The visit was organized by Quebec based breeding, research and development company, Progest 2001 Inc. The Cuban delegation was headed by the National Director of Crops and also included members of the National Director of Seeds and the Potato Director of the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Cuba (INCA). The delegation held several meetings with seed growers and seed companies across the province of Quebec. The delegation participated in a Potato Field Day organized by seed potato companies in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, evaluating potato varieties on display. (Further information from andre.gagnon@progest2001.com. Progrest 2001 website in French, English and Spanish)

Norway: NordGen potato collection accessions available for distribution

Rättviks röd (photo Simon Jeppson)

At present the NordGen potato collection consists of 72 varieties, breeding clones and landraces (local strains). For most of the accessions available for distribution, additional information can be found in the Nordic Potato Book (Potatisboken) produced by NordGen. Material from the NordGen in vitro potato collection are distributed on request all year round, depending of supply. The in vitro material is primarily for breeding, research and demonstration purposes. The available accessions can be found in the in vitro potato list. Multiplication of the material is often necessary before your request can be distributed, so please be aware that it might not be sent until some months after the request. Mini tubers are produced yearly from a subset of the collection and can be ordered by interested researchers, open-air museums, local history societies from February 1. Please contact Ulrika Carlson-Nilsson. You will then get information about availability and delivery time. (Source and further details: NordGen)

Upcoming industry event in the Netherlands is important for Scots potato export market

Scottish potato exports are worth millions to the economy. Picture: Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesIn recent years exports of seed potatoes from Scotland have gradually increased to the point where they are now worth millions of pounds to the economy. With a view to further promoting this trade, British potato exporters will next week attend the Potato Europe event in Emmelord, Holland. With more than 250 exhibitors and 15,000 visitors from around the world, Potato Europe is seen as a key marketplace for the GB potato sector. Among the companies and organisations exhibiting this year are Greenvale AP, Caithness Potatoes, Cygnet PEP, James Hutton, Cullen Allen and SASA. Niall Arbuckle from Greenvale AP said the show was the ideal venue for striking deals with key clients in countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Israel and Jordan. The AHDB Export Team’s Rob Burns said he would be pushing the benefits of GB’s high health seed potato sector. “We are looking to increase our exports in a number of areas including Russia, the Middle East and Brazil and the show offers us the chance to continue discussions with these target markets.” More

Webcast highlights value of seed potato certification

The Plant Management Network (PMN) has released a new presentation entitled “Seed Potato Certification” to help professionals learn about the basics of certification and its importance for maintaining quality seed stock. The webcast, developed by Robert D. Davidson, Professor and Extension Specialist at Colorado State University, describes how the certification process helps growers. This presentation will help consultants, growers and other practitioners in the U.S. and Canada learn about the basics of seed potato certification. Specifically, in this presentation, the basis for seed potato certification and the current process being followed will be described. Additionally, discussion will center on which diseases and conditions are the focus of inspections and how these problems are managed, or not, through the use of clean, high quality seed potatoes. Finally, viewers will learn the certification process and what the use of clean seed means for other seed growers and the commercial industry. More

Dutch company Solynta claims that it developed blight resistant potato varieties

Foto ANPIt is widely reported in the Dutch press today that potato breeding company Solynta in the Netherlands has developed potato varieties that are resistant to potato late blight (Phytophthora). The varieties will be introduced to the public during a field day held by the company at its premises in Wageningen, the Netherlands later this week (Aug 23). Late blight is responsible for losses to farmers in the order of around € 10 billion worldwide, despite intensive use of pesticides. In the Netherlands, the cost for the almost ninety thousand potato growers is estimated at € 150 million according to figures released by Wageningen University. Phytophthora has thus far being able to evade successful resistance by most commercially produced potato varieties. Solynta’s director, Hein Kruyt, reportedly says his company is capable of breeding potato varieties with multiple disease resistance genes – as many as three, four or even more. He says Solynta has developed late blight resistant potato varieties with a “stable parental line”.  Continue reading

Scottish potato seed sector battles with blackleg

Scotland currently produces 75% of the UK's seed potatoesMajor players in Scotland’s seed potato industry, as well as myriad public sector organisations and the Scottish Government, are teaming up to fund new research into the devastating crop disease, blackleg. According to Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), blackleg caused the downgrade of 8% of Scottish seed crops in 2011. The disease spurs the soft rot of potatoes and can even kill off entire potato plants. In addition to the Scottish Government, the £242,000 research project has been sponsored by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, with McCain Potatoes Ltd, Greenvale AP, Cygnet Potato Breeders Ltd, Agrico UK Ltd, APS BioControl Ltd, HZPC, Caithness Potatoes Ltd, Branston Ltd, and Techneat Engineering also supporting the study. Report by The Scottish Potato Farmer

UK: JBA Seed Potatoes takes over Westland/Unwins seed potato business

JBAHorticultureWeek reports that JBA Seed Potatoes have completed the outright purchase of the Westlands/Unwins seed potato business as of 8 August 2017. All of the current 400+ retail customers are receiving a new price list from JBA Seed Potatoes with the blessing of Westlands/Unwins as their preferred supplier to maintain a consistent supply of top quality seed. Jamieson Brothers of Annan who trade under the brand name JBA Seed Potatoes are a family business established in 1895 and hold the world record for having the most potato varieties on display at one time with 667 shown, at Gardening Scotland in 2013. Thompson & Morgan have also withdrawn from the seed potato market this year. This means garden centres, other than own-brand JBA, WCF and Taylors are the main players left in the market. Westland/Unwins machinery will transfer to JBA in Annan, south west Scotland. More

AHDB official: ‘Brexit could be a mixed blessing for potato sector’

While Brexit could hamper trade, AHDB said Scottish potatoes could find new markets elsewhere. Picture: ContributedWhile the wider potato industry might be much less exposed to some of the post-Brexit trade risks which could be disastrous for other sectors of agriculture, the industry still faces many challenges in the coming years. Speaking at the country’s foremost sector event, Potatoes in Practice (PiP), held outside Dundee yesterday, David Swales, head of strategic insight with the Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board (AHDB), said that, while most other areas of agriculture needed frictionless trade with the EU to remain viable, “a bit of friction” would actually be good for ware growers. “The domestic market is very important for those who grow ware crops – and as the country also imports a lot of value added processed potato products, import substitution would offer considerable opportunities for this sector of the UK potato industry,” he said. However, he admitted that the situation was slightly different for Scotland, where a deal of the focus was on seed production. Read the full story in The Scotsman

Scottish potato seed exporters set to increase tonnage to Brazil and Kenya

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Scottish seed potatoes

Government representatives from Scotland and Brazil met in July to simplify the import classification requirements for seed potatoes. The game-changing meeting was organised and funded by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). Brazil produces circa 3.6m tonnes of potatoes a year according to UN figures, however in terms of productivity yields are only two thirds of what is achieved by UK growers. Rob Burns, Head of Crops Export Market Development at AHDB said: “British seed potatoes are rightly renowned across the world. Not only for high health and high quality, but also for diversity, we have a great range of varieties which thrive in a range of conditions, be it damper cooler climates such as the UK, or warmer environments.” This agreement could set the path for a significant increase in the tonnage of British seed exported to Brazil, which is likely to help increase yields for the growers that plant them.Representatives from both countries will meet again in January to finalise discussions on removing requirement for disease testing on GB seed potatoes entering Brazil. Continue reading

Embattled West Australian potato growers eye Egypt as potential new market after TPP hardship

Kon Peos stands in front of a row of potato cratesSeed potato exports to Egypt are being flagged as a new opportunity for West Australian (WA) potato producers hit by tomato potato psyllid trade restrictions. The Potato Growers Association of Western Australia was set to receive $60,000 in State Government funding, chief executive Simon Moltoni said. The money would be used to build up trade relations between the two countries. This would be met with a $40,000 contribution from the association, Mr Moltoni said. He said the potential market in Egypt was the same size as the whole WA seed potato industry and could provide huge growth potential. “The size of this market is 10,000 tonne. It is bigger than just the effect the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) has had and it will give growers an option if they choose to participate. There are three international exporters of seed potato in WA — WA Elite Seed, Southern Packers and Lake Jasper seed potatoes. Mr Moltoni said they would all be crucial to the early stages of any trade deals. More