New ventilated potato sack helps stop the rot

New ventilated potato sack helps stop the rotA jute bag with ‘ventilated striping’ could help Scottish seed potato exporters minimise bacterial growth during export. European packaging supplier LC Packaging has developed a hessian sack with extra ventilation to prevent seed potatoes from sweating and rotting during transit. The patented LC Vento jute bag, which was developed by the packaging supplier in-house, has looser stitching and ‘ventilated striping’, allowing palletised potatoes to respire more and sweat less when exported. “A serious issue when exporting quality products such as potatoes, onions and carrots, is the so called ‘temperature shock’,” explained communications manager Lotte Mastwijk. “While still in the standard packaging, these products cannot dissipate the exuded humidity and moisture. This can lead to the development of moist and the start of the products’ rotting process.” She added that the bag reduces the chance of mould, “minimising the risk of product quality claims.” More

US seed potatoes welcomed in foreign markets

Potatoes USA is apparantly breaking new ground in Senegal, Guatemala, Myanmar, and Morocco by introducing new U.S. seed potato varieties over the past two years. These foreign governments are assisting the effort by welcoming more U.S. seed stock in a variety of ways following our International Seed Potato Symposium and state visits this summer. (The Senegalese went to California, the Guatemalans to Washington/Oregon, the Moroccans to Idaho and the growers from Myanmar to Wisconsin.)  Within days of returning from the USA, Senegal’s National Horticulture Director announced a farm subsidy of up to 30% to defray growers cost to purchase U.S. seed potatoes.  In Myanmar, U.S. seed potatoes (and fresh) became the first American horticulture products to be approved under new phytosanitary requirements.  Continue reading

US: Potato researchers gather to find solutions for the blackleg disease

Potato researchers gather in Maine to find a solutions for the Blackleg diseaseResearchers from all over the world were in Bangor, Maine for the ‘2017 Dickeya and Pectobacterium Summit’, organized by the University of Maine Extension. They are trying to find a way to stop the blackleg potato disease that could threaten the potato industry. According to Steven Johnson, UMaine cooperative extension professor: “This is not an emerging problem. This is an existing one we are trying to get ahead of. The pathogen may rot the tubers in the field. It may produce 20 to 80 percent less yield in the field. It may rot the potatoes in storage.” Maine’s potato crop brings a lot of money to the state and provides a livelihood for many growers. All of that could be threatened because of bacteria that causes blackleg disease. It isn’t just Maine that is impacted. The disease is hitting the potato industry worldwide. Researchers from 19 states and four different countries attended the meeting trying to find solutions. More

Increased trade in HZPC certificates during stock trading day

Image result for hzpc logoThe value of the share certificate of Dutch based potato breeding and seed company HZPC was pegged at €182.20 after the bi-annual stock trading day in November 2017. Once more, this means a 10% increase in the value (the maximum allowable increase) and brings the market value to €142.8 million, according to a press released issued by the company. On this last stock trading day, 11,000 certificates were traded – more than twice as many as in previous years. With a certificate value of €182.20, the value of the HZPC certificate has risen fifteen times by the maximum of 10% since May 2010. According to CEO Gerard Backx, “The new price with the maximum increase again shows that our investors believe in HZPC and our business strategy. Notably, the trade in certificates has doubled in comparison with previous years. Consequently, there is more movement on the market and the gap between supply and demand seems to be narrowing.” More

Australia: Hope for seed potato exports to Egypt

Department of Agriculture's Andrew Taylor, potato grower Kon Peos, WA Potatoes Simon Moltoni and potato growers Patrick Fox and Aaron Chapman will travel to Egypt this year to investigate a possible export arrangement for seed potatoes.Western Australia’s potato growers and industry representatives have joined forces to investigate a 10,000-tonne seed potato export agreement with Egypt as a way to reinvigorate the industry. A delegation will travel to Egypt before the end of the year to discuss the proposal. Egypt is the world’s biggest certified producer of imported seed potatoes and supplies about 100,000 tonnes annually to Europe. “They have four plantings each year in Egypt and have some trouble sometimes, which is where we would fit in,” Mr Moltoni said. “It’s during their July planting, which is our autumn harvest and peak growing period.” Mr Moltoni said there was much to work out, from potato requirements to trade specifications. A selection of growers participated in a workshop about the proposal. More

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