Drought stricken: The sad truth of the current disastrous state of arable crops in Germany

Image result for German drought damageAfter months of drought, temperatures reached 36 degrees in Germany on Tuesday, prompting farmers to demand €1 billion in emergency state aid to cover crop shortfalls. The drought situation is so severe that German farmers are referring to it as a natural disaster that poses a threat to their livelihoods. The idea of a natural disaster will be confirmed by German authorities if more than 30% of the average annual harvest is destroyed. Emergency harvesting has begun across the country, with farmers warning of looming shortfalls to livestock feed after disastrous growth of grains and grass. Berlin said it would wait for an August harvest report before making a decision. A shortage of animal feed is also looming. The German Association of the Fruit, Vegetable and Potato Processing Industry (BOGK) estimates that a minimum of 25 percent of the potato crops this year will fail, while the association’s director said that number could be as high as 40 percent if conditions continue. Read more. Watch a short English language video

Little golden nugget: Univ of Maine releases new gourmet potato variety

Sporting a unique and striking skin pattern, the newly released Pinto Gold potato has been in development for twelve years. Out of 50,000 individual varieties tested at Univ of Maine’s Aroostook Research Farm, the Pinto Gold was selected as the most promising. The potato isn’t destined for large scale chip or french fry manufacturing, but for local gardeners, restaurants, and home cooking. Gregory Porter, Professor of Agronomy at the University of Maine, says: “This is unusual material and the crosses were really done for that specialty market, and that’s why it has the striking skin patterns. It has very small tubers and wouldn’t be the type of variety that would be used by everybody in the potato industry. But it works really well for that specialty market, and because of the small tubers, it’s very easy to put into a roasted product to get a lot of that nice skin. You just quarter the little potatoes and get a nice size potato for roasting.” The Pinto Gold is described as having a smooth, creamy texture when cooked. Watch video

Virtual reality video shows the effect of ESN Smart Nitrogen on potatoes

Image result for esn potato videoESN Smart Nitrogen is a urea granule comprised of 44% nitrogen, contained within a flexible polymer coating. This coating protects the nitrogen from loss mechanisms and releases nitrogen in response to soil temperature. ESN gives crops all the nitrogen they need, when they need it, the company says. General use recommendations for ESN for several potato producing regions in the US and Canada are available on the ESN website. ESN recently uploaded a series of new virtual reality videos detailing the unique nitrogen needs and benefits of ESN on potatoes, corn, cotton and soybeans. The potato feature was filmed in Aberdeen, Idaho, at a University of Idaho research plot. It shows the effect of ESN on potatoes while discussing the crop’s unique nitrogen needs. These videos were developed to provide an interactive extension to a field tour, allowing growers and retailers to see the performance of products up close from the palm of their hand. Watch the video on YouTube

Sensor brings new wavelengths to crop scanning for needs-based nitrogen

Image result for Sensor brings new wavelengths to crop scanning for needs-based nitrogenIt only makes sense to apply fertilizer where it’s needed, and only where it’s needed. For a long time, agricultural machinery and technology companies have focused on achieving this goal, including German company Fritzmeier Umwelttechnik. The company’s technology, called the ISARIA Crop Sensor, uses four different wavelengths delivered with LEDs and up to 2000 measurement values per second to index vegetation. Mounted on the front of a sprayer or a tractor pulling fertilizer application equipment, this optical sensor information is used to assess nitrogen uptake of the crop while driving through the field. As Fritzmeier Umwelttechnik’s Bernhard Limbrunner explains in this video, the vegetation index values are plugged into an algorithm with yield potential maps and historical data to adjust nitrogen application rates in real-time. Most systems use two wavelengths to assess vegetation, instead of ISARIA’s four wavelengths. More

New nematicide e-learning course launched

Bed forming with Nemathorin applicationThe potato industry in the UK is being urged to take part in a free interactive e-learning course on best practice nematicide usage that has been launched by the NSP and ARTIS. With the cold and wet weather delaying planting and nematicide applications in some areas, now is the perfect time to refresh knowledge on responsible application. “The new online tool aims to encourage and increase the adoption of nematicide stewardship,” says Dr Sharon Hall, chair of the Nematicide Stewardship Programme (NSP). Developed by training specialists, ARTIS, the programme will consist of three short 30 minute online modules, the first of which is available online now at www.artistraining.com/e-learning, and focuses on analysis of soil type, potato cyst nematode counts and variety choice when deciding whether to use a nematicide. More

Video: Why your controlled release fertilizer didn’t work as expected

Image result for Video: Why your controlled release fertilizer didn't work as expectedIn this video, Nelson Gonzalez, Territory / Key Account Manager at ICL, discusses the top 10 reasons your controlled release fertilizer may not have performed as you expected. Fertilizer displacement? Not choosing the proper longevity? Not using the proper formulation? Not choosing the proper rate? Over irrigation? Too high or too low media pH? Micronutrient package? Read more and watch the video

Idaho Potato Commission launches new video series: Idaho Potato Life Hacks

The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) has partnered with Ivan Nanney, former member of the Big Idaho® Potato Truck’s Tater Team and Cancun.com’s newest Cancun Experience Officer, to create a series of Idaho® Potato Life Hack videos showcasing the many uses of Idaho® potatoes beyond a recipe ingredient. These DIY (Do It Yourself) tater tricks use Idaho® potatoes to increase efficiency, safety, and creativity in everyday life. “Although Idaho® potatoes are one of America’s favorite vegetables, a lot of people aren’t aware of just how multifunctional spuds can be,” says Frank Muir, President & CEO, IPC. “So whenever you’re in a pinch, there’s a good chance an Idaho® potato can help. We like to call them ‘delicious and functional’.” Here are six Idaho® Potato Life Hacks that can make your life a little easier,  a few more ways Idaho® potatoes can help… More. And watch all the Idaho® Potato Life Hacks videos

Dr Oz show asks: Is it time to end the war on potatoes?

Image result for oz is it time to end the war on potatoesThe popular Dr Oz show in the US features potatoes and the myth that potatoes are fattening in its latest episode. “It’s been ingrained in your brain that you can’t possibly enjoy a potato and lose weight. It turns out, they may have gotten it all wrong. Some experts on the show say that potatoes may indeed be nature’s diet pill.” Plus, Daphne Oz reveals new food finds for 2018. Go here to watch the video. Also available on this page. Also featured: “How to Eat Potatoes to Lose Weight: Learn how to enjoy them without hurting your waistline.”

Videos: What soil health testing method could work for you?

Image result for GREATsoils: Soil Testing TechniquesSoil testing is an important management practice on all farms, whether growing potatoes or pasture for livestock. It’s nearly impossible to determine what a soil needs to be productive, without a soil analysis. Experts view soil testing as an important tool – although not an absolute science – that allows producers to make more qualified fertility management decisions. AHDB Horticulture TV in the UK recently uploaded 6 short videos on the different ways you can test your soil health:

Video: Newest Strategic Potato Farm in Great Britain aims to maximise quality in store

Image result for spot farm ahdb godfreyRJ & AE Godfrey, a mixed arable farm in North Lincolnshire in the UK is the newest Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm. On-farm events will begin in June. The SPot Farm programme up-scales the research and demonstrates the on-farm implementation of the science related to potato production. The initiative, part of an annual £1m+ AHDB investment in its Farm Excellence network, offers growers an insight into how new systems and practices can be implemented at their own potato enterprise, benefitting their businesses and the wider supply chain as well. The RJ & AE Godfrey operation becomes the fifth active SPot Farm in Great Britain. The enterprise grows around 440 ha of main-crop potatoes for the packing market each year. The farm spans the Lincolnshire/Yorkshire border and includes two soil types, a sandy loam on the Lincolnshire Wolds and silts on the Isle of Axholme. Maximising quality in store is a key goal for R.J. and A.E. Godfrey. Hear the thoughts of Director Alex Godfrey and Farm Manager Will Gagg – watch video

UK: Latest news from the AHDB’s Fight Against Blight campaign

Click on the video below to hear Rob Clayton and Claire Hodge discuss the latest news from the AHDB’s Fight Against Blight. They provide an overview of the 2017 blight season and look towards plans for the season ahead. For more information on the campaign please go to the Blight section of the AHDB Potatoes website. If you’d like to sign up as a Blight Scout or register for alerts head to the Fight Against Blight website.

Eyes in the Sky: ARS scientist on the use of UAV’s for potato research

Related imageIn this video, Shelley Jansky, USDA ARS research geneticist and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, discusses how she is utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles in her research. She says there are many directions that researchers can go with UAV;s, although they need first of all learn to use them efficiently and effectively. The main use for her right now is with a visible light camera, monitoring crop development in plots during the season to see if there are differences related to several aspects such as nutrient stress, or perhaps water stress and heat stress. There are many things that she and her research colleagues would like to do, such as flying petrie dishes through the fields and sample spores for early blight and late blight. Jansky is of the opinion that the :sky is the limit” for the use of UAV’s in research, and these will in the near future simply become one of the regular tools that researchers employ. Watch the YouTube video (3 mins)

Grower Webinar: Experts share crop nutrition tips for quality potato production

This free webinar with Scott Stuntz, managing editor of Spudman magazine, features YARA’s potato crop manager in North America, Jimmy Ridgway, and the director of agronomic services at YARA in North America, Dr. Steve Petrie. Petrie and Ridgway share insights from extensive crop nutrition research and trials done over the years by YARA. They also discuss technology, tools and services to provide growers with practical guidelines related to potato crop nutrition. Just access this page in your browser and then complete a simple registration form to join the hour long presentation on ReadyTalk.

US: Nematology expert discusses management practices for corky ringspot in potatoes

In a video aimed at helping potato growers, the Plant Management Network has released a presentation by Michigan State University professor of nematology George W. Bird on management practices for corky ringspot. The disease is caused by the tobacco rattle virus and vectored by stubby-root nematodes. The primary symptoms are characteristic concentric rings on tuber skin and internal tissues. Bird’s presentation is designed to assist growers in understanding and managing corky ring spot. It contains information about symptoms of the disease and how to sample for the stubby root nematode. It also covers the management strategies of containment, exclusion and nematode population control. Special attention is given to chemical and biological control options and the topic of soil health. Watch video

Video: New Mexico State University researchers conduct field trials of South American potato, papa criolla

Woman in hat holding potato plantNew Mexico State University is collaborating with U.S. Department of Agriculture research geneticist Kathy Haynes to conduct field trials of the South American potato, papa criolla, that she has breed to grow in the United States. White-fleshed potatoes typically grown in the United States are low in carotenoids that act as antioxidants for healthy eyes. The most well-known carotenoid is beta-carotene found in carrots. The carotenoids in the South American papa criolla potatoes, which make the potato yellow-fleshed, are lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent age-related macular degeneration. At least one study has suggested that zeaxanthin also improves mental acuity in elderly people. “Yukon Gold, a yellow-flesh potato that consumers are familiar with, has these carotenoids,” Haynes said. “Comparatively, the papa criolla types have 10-20 times more lutein and zeaxanthin than Yukon Gold.” Watch YouTube video. More information will be presented at the New Mexico Sustainable Agriculture Conference Wednesday, Dec. 13. Also see this press release