US: Lamb Weston unveils new $200 million potato processing line

Whether waffle-fried or straight-cut, call Richland a french fry capital. This morning, Lamb Weston unveiled its new $200 million expanded processing line for frozen potato products. The line will double the Richland plant’s capacity to 2 million pounds a day of frozen fries. The 290,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art expansion will added another 150 jobs to the Tri-City economy. Lamb Weston has produced frozen fry products in Richland since 1972. With the new line, the plant now has the combined capacity to produce an estimated 600 million pounds of frozen potato products annually. .It sources most of the potatoes it processes from within 60 miles, making it the region’s largest buyer of locally-grown. The company has said the rising global demand for fries and frozen potato products drove the expansion. More

‘Chipocalypse’ in New Zealand as wild weather spikes price of potatoes

ChipsThe “chipocalypse” has reached New Zealand, after heavy rain caused a shortage of potato crops and a spike in prices. Supermarkets have been forced to place signs in their chip shelves, explaining to hungry customers why the beloved snack is out of sto“It started raining in March, and it just simply hasn’t stopped,” Chris Claridge, head of trade association Potatoes New Zealand, told Radio Live NZ. “Potatoes are actually alive — they need to breathe. And so, effectively, they drown and then they start to rot… because they’re submerged in water.” Two major floods have wiped out around one fifth of crops, with some regions seeing 30 percent of crops destroyed. Around 75,000 tonnes of potatoes are made into chips every year, which means these shortages will will havea detrimental effect on the snack. This shortage of potatoes has filtered down to food prices. In New Zealand, wIn New Zealand, where a kilogram of potatoes cost $1.28 last August, it’s now shot up to $1.67 this year. Potato chips are even scarce on shelves. Potato chips are even scarce on shelves. More

Pleasing British potato crop despite rain delays to lifting season

Despite a stop-start lifting season as a result of regular rain showers, harvested crops in Britain have yielded well and there are few quality issues being reported. An improvement in weather in the eastern counties has allowed growers to progress well with potato lifting, with around 70 per cent of crops harvested. While skin set has been a challenge, yields in the South East have been the best they have been for the past two years, according to Norfolk agronomist and grower Andy Alexander. He says: “Skin set has been slow. We had a reasonably good growing season, so crops have kept growing and have not come under stress to force them to shut down. We have had to desiccate quite green crops this year, hence we are getting bigger yields, but we cannot have it both ways.” Mr Alexander believes there may be some storage losses, bringing the overall saleable yield down. 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

Lamb Weston reports strong first quarter

Image result for lamb weston logoLamb Weston has released its figures for the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year and the company said the numbers are positive and that it reaffirms the company’s outlook for the coming year. “Our strong start to the year reflects a good balance of sales growth, supply chain productivity and cost discipline,” said Tom Werner, Lamb Weston president and CEO. In the coming months, Lamb Weston is scheduled to start up a new production line in Richland, Washington. Due to developments like that, the company expects to remain on track to deliver on its full-year targets. More

UK: Yorkshire spud farm pivots to making vodka

An historic Yorkshire farm has diversified into alcohol production with the help of a Polish moonshine expert. Priory Farm, between Tadcaster and Wetherby, has recently scooped two international awards for its home-brewed vodka, which is made using potatoes grown on the site. Owner David Rawlings and his sister Shirley Wood have spent two years perfecting their recipe with the help of two international business partners: Neville Clements, a former corporate banker from New Zealand who lives on the farm, and Ireneusz Olszewski, who bases his knowledge on his experiences of making moonshine with his grandfather in Poland. Farmer David decided to diversify into vodka production after realising his potatoes were of premium quality, while Neville manages the process. Ireneusz acts as head distiller and claims to be able to make ‘alcohol out of anything’. More

U.S. exports more frozen, dehydrated and fresh potatoes

Exports of frozen, dehydrated and fresh potatoes in July 2017 all showed gains compared to July 2016, according to Potatoes USA. The volume of frozen exports was up 1%, with the value up 3% to USD94m. The volume of exports of dehydrated potatoes was up 12% and the value up 12% to USD17m. Fresh potato export volume was up 51% with the value up 41% to USD33m. Exports of frozen potato products to Mexico and Japan continued their recent recovery and were up 11% and 10% respectively. Korea up 10%, Malaysia up 10% the Philippines up 13% all continued the strong growth from last marketing year. Fresh exports (both table-stock and chip-stock) had a lot of positive growth in July 2017 compared to 2016, with the largest fresh export market, Canada up 49%. More

Canada: New equipment fuels growth for Covered Bridge Potato Chip Company

New equipment fuels growth for Covered Bridge Potato Chip CompanyThe Covered Bridge Potato Chip Company will boost production to accommodate the growing demand for its products, thanks to a $437,500 investment from the Government of Canada. The investment includes a new line for the production of popcorn. The investment will also help increase export capacity and is expected to create up to 14 new jobs. TJ Harvey, Member of Parliament for Tobique-Mactaquac, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), was joined by Ryan Albright, President of the Covered Bridge Potato Chip Company, to make the announcement yesterday. More

2017 East Idaho potato season winding down

It was a successful growing season for potatoes across Eastern Idaho. Despite the excessive heat, this growing season brought a slightly above normal amount of potatoes. However, the heat has affected the timing of the harvest and has caused a delay. Between the hot temperatures lasting through Labor Day and a stretch of September rain, this harvest has been particularly challenging. Kamren Koompin, Manager & Partner of Koompin Farms said: “The harvest has been probably a little behind normal so probably not your normal average harvest, the growing season was fairly good with above average temperatures, which that was probably the biggest wild card we had was the heat this summer.” This season’s harvest is expected to be completed within the next 7 to 10 days. (Source:

Lack of truck drivers hurting Washington potato farmers

Potato famers in rural northwestern Washington say they don’t have enough truck drivers to deliver their products out of state. The Skagit Valley Herald reports ( ) that a shortage of truck drivers is causing farmers to lose sales during the peak of their shipping season. The shortage is in part caused by commercial truck drivers on strike over a new federal law. The law that goes into effect in December requires drivers to use an electronic device to automatically log miles driven. Farmers say drivers are also scarce because many are delivering supplies to communities in Texas and Florida that were damaged by recent hurricanes. Statistics by the Washington State University Skagit County Extension show the rural county grows potatoes on 12,000 acres and it’s the area’s most lucrative crop. (Source: AP)

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

NZ potato and tomato growers relieved at the release of pest eating wasp

A pest which has cost the New Zealand potato industry over $120 million since 2006 may be on the way out thanks to a wasp which has been released in Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury. The tamarixia trioaze, a wasp that comes from the United States and Mexico, destroys the tomato potato psyllid pest by laying an egg on the psyllid. The wasp eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the TPP. Eventually, the larvae will chew a hole through the TPP’s shell to emerge as an adult. Vegetable Research and Innovation Board coordinator Sally Anderson said the arrival of the wasp was a relief for greenhouse growers. More

Germany: Despite the weather a good potato harvest is expected

The German Farmers’ Association (DBV) published a worrying article this week. The rainfall in the previous weeks will have a very negative effect on the potato harvest in the North of Germany. It is nearly impossible to enter the potato fields due to excessive water which makes the harvest and storing difficult. The potato farmers and distributors are nonetheless counting on a good potato harvest. “I simply do not have anything negative to say about it.” It is the biggest fear of the entire potato industry: ongoing rainfall and the flooding of the potato fields. According to the DBV however, it is difficult to grub up the ripe crops. That could be an enormous problem for the yield of the Northern potato farmers. More

UK: Branston joins the big league

James TruscottPERTHSHIRE-based potato supplier Branston has hit the big time, breaking into the Sunday Times/Grant Thornton ‘Top Track 250’ league table, which ranks Britain’s fastest growing companies in order of sales. Branston is now rubbing shoulders with household names such as Aston Martin, Waterstones and David Lloyd Leisure, placed 233 in the table, following sales of £123.2 million last year. “We’ve experienced double-digit percentage growth in the last year, and that’s down to our fantastic team,” said James Truscott, managing director at Branston. “We’ve focused on better, more efficient handling and reducing waste, making the most of every part of the crop,” continued Mr Truscott. 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