Varieties

Dutch courage: The ‘potato covenant model’ shows the way for breeding blight-resistant varieties

Across the channel in the Netherlands a remarkable thing is happening. The whole supply chain has worked together through the ‘Potato Covenant’ to shift the organic potato sector to 100% use of robust, blight-resistant varieties. So, why not in the UK, asks Phil Sumption in this article published on his blog Agricology.

Irish specialty potato producer fights coronavirus with new contactless drive-through spud shack

A purple potato producer who saw her niche business flatline overnight has started a contactless drive-through spud shack. Maria Flynn of Ballymakenny Farm, outside Drogheda, Co Louth was supplying many top restaurants and bars across the country with heritage potatoes when Covid-19 virtually closed the hospitality industry overnight.

Branston hopes for purple patch for Violet Queen potato variety

Branston, potato supplier based in the UK, is asking shoppers whether they want to see its new Violet Queen variety become a mainstay of the potato aisles as part of its launch of the eye-catching purple variety, Fruitnet reports. Violet Queen is being launched into selected Tesco stores for a limited time from this month, having been developed for its unusual colour and rich texture.

Backing up biodiversity: CIP deposits potato seed in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The International Potato Center (CIP) recently joined 34 other organizations across the globe in depositing more than 60,000 seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a biodiversity bunker in a mountainside of an Arctic island in Norway. That mass deposit of seeds of an array of crops helped raise the number of samples stored in Svalbard to more than one million, but for the CIP genebank, it was just the latest such delivery in an ongoing effort to back up its extensive collections of potato, sweetpotato, Andean roots and tubers, and the wild relatives of those crops.

From hunger to profitable harvest: How GMO, CRISPR-edited plants can help curb $220 billion in annual crop losses

Plant diseases arguably pose the biggest threat to agriculture, exacting a dramatic economic toll and endangering the livelihoods of farmers all over the world, writes Steven Cerier in this article published by Genetic Literacy Project (GLP). Scientists in the Netherlands and Ireland have successfully carried out field trials of a disease-resistant genetically engineered potato. The new variety was created through a process of cisgenesis.

The ‘Flight to Vitality’ project: A fresh perspective on potato growth

Neil Budko is an associate professor in the Numerical Analysis Group at TU Delft in the Netherlands. In this article he and his colleagues’ involvement in the “Flight to Vitality” seed potato project is explained in detail. With the Flight to Vitality project, HZPC and Averis Seeds want to jointly develop an objective test with which the vitality of batches of seed potatoes can be measured and predicted.

Canadian Private Potato Breeders Network elects new president

At the annual meeting of the Canadian Private Potato Breeders Network CPPBN, held on March 4 and 5, 2020 in Guelph Ontario, the group elected Andre Gagnon as President for a 2 year term. “Andre is an active private potato breeder for the past 14 years and has released several varieties, notably the variety “Alliston” which has proven to be outstanding in Ontario,” says Dr Peter VanderZaag, secretary of CPPBN.

International Women’s Day: Interview with Canadian potato researcher, Dr Helen Tai

Dr Helen Tai is Research Scientist – Plant Genetics and Genomics (specializing in potatoes) at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Fredericton Research and Development Centre in the country’s New Brunswick province. AAFC recently published the interview below with Dr Tai. Even though I didn’t start out studying plants I feel very lucky to be back where I grew up, studying potatoes. I guess it’s true what they say about the apple not falling far from the tree!

USDA grant supports potato breeding and genetics program

Michigan State University received $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to invest in its potato breeding and genetics program. The award is part of a $2.25 million four-part grant to support potato breeding in strategic areas across the country, which includes partnering institutions University of Minnesota, North Dakota State University and the University of Wisconsin.

GMO blight-resistant potato expected to help over 300,000 farmers in Uganda

Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bioengineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals. At an expert consultative meeting held in[Read More…]

Canada revamps its potato breeding program

It’s been a little over a year since Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) began revamping its potato breeding program. In addition to making the program more efficient and up to date, the move reflects a strong desire by the AAFC to make the program more responsive to the needs of the Canadian potato industry, writes Mark Halsall in an article published[Read More…]

US: PVMI to promote new varieties of potatoes

Always working to develop the “perfect” russet, the Potato Variety Management Institute’s (PVMI) main mission is to promote new varieties of potatoes in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and beyond. Bob Larson from AGInfo reports. PVMI Executive Director Jeanne Debons says it’s what they coordinate from their operation based in Bend, Oregon … DeBONS … “PVMI is a non-profit that represents the[Read More…]

CIP in Uganda: Experts expect 40-50% adoption of new blight resistant GMO potato variety Victoria

Stakeholders working within the potato sector in Uganda are confident about the wide adoption of a new bio-engineered late blight resistant potato. Dubbed the “3R Victoria” potato, the yet to be released International Potato Center (CIP) bred variety could help over 300,000 smallholder farmers in Uganda achieve higher yields at a lower cost with less exposure to chemicals, it is[Read More…]

Specialty, organic potatoes help expand sales

There’s more to the potato business than reds, whites and russets, marketers in the US say. Specialty varieties and organics are important parts of the product mix, they note. “We need to continue to explore varietals,” said Mike Hart, director of sales and marketing for Fryeburg, Maine-based Green Thumb Farms.  “When I look at the produce section as a whole and[Read More…]

CIP: Improved potato varieties boost food security and livelihoods of millions in Asia

The potato is one of the most important crops in Asia, contributing to the food security and incomes of millions of families. Asian farmers produced almost 196 million metric tons of potatoes in 2017—about half of the global harvest—and many of those potatoes were bred by scientists at the International Potato Center (CIP).

Estonian Crop Research Institute trials newly developed red skinned potato varieties

Early red-skinned potatoes were harvested at a greenhouse in Jõgeva on Thursday, and scientists will now determine which varieties give the best yield and are most resistant to the negative effects of indoor lighting, ERR News reports. On December 13, five newly developed varieties of red-skinned potatoes were planted in pots in the Estonian Crop Research Institute (Eesti Taimekasvatuse Instituut)[Read More…]

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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