Idaho’s Norkotah crop looks good, Burbank crop may be lighter

yyyThe 2018 Idaho potato harvest got under way with Russet Norkotahs in early August, and by the first week in September, most growers in the state had started digging Norkotahs. While there is always variation from one field to another, growers were generally reporting good volumes with a good size structure and very good quality. Russet Burbanks, which are harvested later, could be another matter. While early test digs showed indications of a large crop of good-sized potatoes, after the first of August the Burbanks appeared to stop growing, and as of late August, test digs were showing small size and low yields in many fields. Growers remained hopeful that in the time remaining before harvest, the potatoes would size up enough to produce a fairly normal crop. Acreage-wise, Idaho growers planted 311,316 acres of potatoes in 2018, up 3,550 acres from the prior year, but most of that is for processing, and fresh acreage is down 8,877 acres, according to Rick Shawver of United Potato Growers of Idaho. Read report in The Packer

German breeder Niehoff presents heat tolerant variety at Potato Europe

Breeding Company K.-H. Nütoff from Bütow will present a brand new, interesting potato variety this week at PotatoEurope 2018 in Bockerode, Germany. The potato is marketed under the name Macarena and was created for the food and export market. The medium-early potato (ready for harvest from mid-August) was newly registered this year, it is particularly storable and has a red skin. The biggest advantage is that the variety works well in longer periods of dry and hot weather and still generates high yields, says a spokesman for the breeding company. In the course of this year’s summer weather extremes, the question was how the variety will behave in storage after difficult cultivation conditions. Read more

Importance of knowing the difference between seed genetics and traits

Since genetically modified, or GM, seed showed up on the market, farmers have been inundated with expensive advertising explaining how important trait packages could be to their operations, writes Ron Wulfkuhle in FBN Network. And it was easy to see the appeal: Who wouldn’t want seed that could fend off corn borers, stand up to RoundUp or survive a dose of Liberty? Most seasoned row crop farmers, and a fair number of younger ones, can remember the first time they poured a bag of traited seed into the planter. It was the dawn of a new era in production agriculture. Suddenly, we didn’t just need to select the right hybrid genetics—we also had to be able to choose between a number of trait packages. Farmers began asking themselves: Do I really need the glyphosate tolerance? Or would management be enough? And should I proactively bulk up against insect pressure, or should I wait until we actually see some activity in the field? Was the trait I chose last year now the right trait for this year? Do I even need the trait or traits? Are they worth the price? Read more

Crop failures in Germany to impact crisp market

The heat wave in Germany also affects the harvest of potato varieties needed to make potato crisps. Due to the extreme climatic situation this summer, there is the threat of up to 30 percent crop failures in the country. Furthermore, the expected smaller tuber sizes will mean that more potatoes are needed to produce a single bag of potato crisps than in years with an average harvest. There is no protection against this. However, the exact extent of the situation will not be clear until the harvest is completed in the fall. It is already certain that crisp manufacturers will come under pressure during a tight harvest this year. The Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry e.V. (BDSI) is joining other in appeals for fairness to all parties involved, said Federal Minister Julia Klöckner during a press conference on the federal-state aid program for farmers on 22 August 2018. Read more

German breeding company Solana presents new potato varieties

Breeding company Solana GmbH, headquartered in Hamburg, will present some new and already successful potato varieties at the Weuthen Potato Day on August 30th. “In order to breed new resistant and high-yielding potato varieties for different cultivation regions and climatic zones, forward-looking breeding goals and some heavy staying power are crucial, in addition to genetic know-how,” says managing partner Leo von Kameke, explaining the success of the Solana varieties. On the Potato Day, the new varieties Baby Lou and Pocahontas will be presented, in addition to a series of successful and market-proven Solana varieties. Baby Lou is a mid-early, hard-boiling, very high-setting (about 30-50 tubers/perennial), storable and tasty table potato. It is predestined for the 45 mm triplet packaging market. Pocahontas is a mid-early, storable, solid-boiling premium potato with very high market yields and an excellent taste. Read more

Researchers from Colombia and Canada developed nutritious, disease-resistant potato varieties

Man holding potatoes A marriage of scientific knowledge and traditional practice has led to the development of three highly nutritious, robust, and productive yellow potato varieties. Researchers from Colombia and Canada are working with public and private sector partners to increase production and consumption of this nutritious and all-natural food staple across Colombia and beyond. Malnutrition and iron deficiency are prevalent among many rural Colombians, especially young children. That will change with the introduction of three high quality yellow potato cultivars (Criolla Ocarina, Criolla Sua Pa and Criolla Dorada) selected by farmers, breeders and scientists.  Continue reading

PAA Honorary Lifetime Member ‘put his heart into spud research’

SteveLoveIt’s been 13 years since Steve Love was involved in potato research and development but his effect has not been forgotten. During last month’s Potato Association of America banquet in Boise, Love, a professor of plant sciences at the University of Idaho’s Aberdeen Research and Extension Center, was recognized with the PAA’s Honorary Lifetime Membership for his work in potato research. These days Love is Idaho’s consumer horticulturist specialist helping develop the native plant program at the Aberdeen center. For 20 years he led the UI’s potato variety development program at Aberdeen. During that time Love and the close-knit team of researchers in the Tri-State program were responsible for 12 new varieties, including the Ranger Russet, currently the third most widely grown potato variety in the United States. Love said that receiving the PAA’s Honorary Lifetime Membership was a great honor. Read more

‘Protecting Potatoes’: New display in Edinburgh highlights the importance of wild potato varieties

‘Protecting Potatoes’ is a new plant display with interpretation for summer 2018 at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. It can be found in the Demonstration Garden and the Temperate Palm House, and has been funded by SEFARI. The aim is to highlight the importance of wild potatoes for the future survival of the domesticated spud. Now, it may not be immediately obvious how wild potatoes can be used to protect what is the fourth most important crop on a global scale. The simple answer is that they have useful genes which can tackle all sorts of threats to the potato crop. This is why research at the Botanics, and in particular at the James Hutton Institute, has focused on the so-called ‘crop wild relatives’ of potato. Working with the James Hutton Institute and SASA, the Botanics assembled a display of eight wild potato species. The display includes numerous forms of the domesticated potato.  Amongst these are some unusual and curious looking traditional varieties from the Andes. Read more

Hopes for potato farming in Cambodia running high

Image result for cambodia potatoesAfter determining the best provinces in the country to grow potatoes, Cambodian scientists are now working to figure out what varieties adapt best to the local soil and will have the highest yields, according to a report by Khmer Times. Initial tests conducted by scientists at the Potato Research Institute, a centre in the Royal University of Agriculture, suggest that three provinces have the right soil and climate conditions for growing the crop. Song Kheang, the director of Mondulkiri’s agriculture department, said further testing is needed before proceeding to plant the crop, however. “Our potatoes will sell very well in Phnom Penh. Cambodia now imports a lot of potatoes from abroad, but we will soon begin producing ourselves which means we will reduce our reliance on imports,” Mr Kheang added. Cambodia now imports more than 5,000 tonnes of potatoes every year from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, Australia and the US, according to the Potato Research Institute. Read more

Global Affairs Canada, Mccain support potato variety development in Andean countries

Related imageA marriage of scientific knowledge and traditional practice has led to the development of three highly nutritious, robust, and productive yellow potato varieties in the Andean region. Researchers from Colombia and Canada are working with public and private sector partners to increase production and consumption of this nutritious and all-natural food staple across Colombia and other Andean countries, particularly Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. This is a partnership between the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and McGill University in Canada, which developed the improved varieties, with support from private sector organizations, including Campo Vivo (McCain) and others. Malnutrition and iron deficiency are prevalent among many rural Colombians, especially young children. That is expected to change with the introduction of three high quality yellow potato cultivars selected by farmers, breeders and scientists. The initiative will benefit at least 1.5 million consumers.  Continue reading

Range of potato experiments underway at Maine’s Aroostook Research Farm

Farmers, researchers and members of the public gathered at the University of Maine’s Aroostook Research Farm in Presque Isle Wednesday to learn about the latest in potato research. “There’s a tremendous number of experiments going on,” said Greg Porter, a University of Maine agriculture professor who also leads the farm’s potato breeding program. Attendees at the field day learned about a range of trials underway at the farm, including research into different fertilizer applications, fungicide treatments for late blight, beneficial soil fungi, and the relatively new potato pathogen known as dickeya, which has created problems for Aroostook County’s seed potato industryContinue reading

James Hutton Institute: New findings could lead to climate-resilient potato varieties in future

Image result for james hutton potatoes in practiceResearch at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland has led to the discovery of genetic variations which can help protect potato crop yields at high temperature, potentially providing potato breeders with a valuable tool in their quest to create varieties resilient to heat stress. The findings were discussed by Dr Mark Taylor at the Potatoes in Practice 2018 event this week. Stress-resistant crops can be an important resource to preserve food security in the face of increased temperatures, such as those brought about by the recent UK heatwave. Dr Taylor said: ““Heat tolerant varieties are especially important for Scottish seed exports to growing markets in warm countries. Although most potato varieties are sensitive to heat there is significant variation in response to heat stress between different potato cultivars, and recent research at the Hutton has led to the discovery of genetic variations which can help protect potato crop yields at high temperature.” Recent leaps in the understanding of genomics, genetics and crop science, funded by the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Fund, have made this type of genetic screening possible. Read more

Future of Britain’s Maris Piper potato in spotlight amid changing global markets

Piper has long led the way in term of British consumptionThe farming industry has been urged to consider the future of Britain’s most loved variety of potato – the Maris Piper. Maris Piper has been the most grown potato variety in Britain for over 20 years. But the industry is now pondering if it will stay at the top in a changing global market. Claire Hodge, Knowledge Exchange Manager at AHDB Potatoes said: “We wanted to ask those who will be shaping the industry in Britain about how they saw the potato competing in a changing global market.” Ms Hodge added: “But can Maris Piper hold out against new varieties? Can it withstand changing consumer appetites and evolution in production and processing methods?” Dr Kim Davie, ADHB Potatoes Nematology Fellow at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) believes that breeding resilient potatoes that are easier to grow is a key element. Read more

Protecting potatoes: Unearthing Scotland’s story

Image result for potatoes wildMax Coleman, Science Communicator, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), recently told Sefari more about our much loved tatties. Coleman says Scotland is a global leader in the research and cultivation of one of our favourite foods, the potato. The Commonwealth Potato Collection (CPC), based at the James Hutton Institute) in Invergowrie, contains around 1500 samples of wild potato species that collectively form a valuable genetic resource that helps to safeguard the future development of the potato. The CPC is the second largest collection of potato genetic resources in the world, after the International Potato Center (CIP) in Peru. Scotland was at the forefront of the fight against blight. Continue reading

Breeding breakthrough: Simplot to use ARS developed technology to speed up breeding of disease resistant potato varieties

Related imageAgricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Albany, California, have found a way to streamline the process that scientists use to insert multiple genes into a crop plant, developing a reliable method that will make it easier to breed a variety of crops with vastly improved traits. The technology is expected to speed up the process for developing new varieties that are better equipped to tolerate heat and drought, produce higher yields and resist a myriad of diseases and pests. “Making genetic improvements that were difficult or impossible before will be much easier because we can now insert not just one or two genes, but multiple genes, into a plant in a way that will lead to predictable outcomes,” said Roger Thilmony, an ARS molecular biologist in Albany.  Continue reading