Australia: Persistence pays off for Tasmanian seed-potato producer Agronico

Nothing happens quickly in the seed-potato business, but persistence has paid off for Agronico owner Julian Shaw. Mr Shaw, who describes himself as a mad scientist, started the business in 1985. Back then Agronico was focused more on production agronomy in crops such as onions but over time his interest in seed-potato production grew. Nowadays Agronico is one of the country’s biggest seed-potato producers – about 10,000 tonnes a year – and the only one using hydroponic mini tuber production. The company has 150 potato varieties in its collection and produces about 28 commercially. All the new varieties are imported as tissue cultures that must be grown out over about four generations before they can be used for commercial production. Hydroponic production allows the company to precisely control crop nutrition, producing evenly sized mini tubers and more of them. Ag Weekly report. Agronico was also in the news recently when they opened a new state of the art coolstore in Spreyton, Tasmania.

Canadian officials approve Simplot’s second generation GMO potatoes

Genetically Engineered Potatoes CanadaAssociated Press reports that three types of potatoes genetically engineered by J.R. Simplot to resist late blight are deemed safe for the environment and safe to eat, according to Canadian officials – who confirmed the approval of these potatoes on Thursday. The official approval by Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency means the Simplot potatoes can be imported, planted and sold in Canada. The company said it received approval letters from Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the last several days. Health Canada spokeswoman Renelle Briand confirmed the approvals to The Associated Press on Thursday. “We have no objection to the sale of food derived from J.R. Simplot Company’s” potatoes for human consumption, Karen McIntyre, director general of Health Canada, said in a letter sent on July 28 to the company. Canadian officials in two other letters sent on Monday approved the environmental release of planting the potatoes and using the potatoes for livestock feed. The three varieties of potato — the Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic — were approved by U.S. regulatory agencies in February. The company said the potatoes contain only potato genes and that the resistance to late blight comes from an Argentine variety of potato that naturally produced a defense.

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British potatoes put roots down in Africa

British potatoes put roots down in AfricaA potato seed trial in Kenya has passed initial tests and the plants are now growing well in three locations in the country. The trials are the result of a 2016 agreement between the Scottish and Kenyan governments to test 10 potato varieties expected to thrive in hot, dry conditions. These included four free varieties – Hermes, Atlantic, Cara and Russet Burbank – and six commercial varieties. The UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) hopes to reach the end of the trials and approvals, and open the market fully, by early 2018. According to SASA, once British varieties are approved in Kenya, it could open access to neighbouring markets. This would include the 19-country Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), of which Kenya is a member. More

Hi-tech production to fill demand for quality seed potatoes in India

.There is a huge shortage of certified seed in India. The incorporation of hi-tech seed production systems, coupled with advanced virus detection techniques is the only way out in fulfilling the huge demand for quality seed potatoes in the country. Keeping that in view, ICAR-CPRI, Shimla has standardized a number of high-tech seed production systems based on tissue culture and micropropagation technologies. The adoption of those systems of seed production will improve the quality of breeder seed, enhance seed multiplication rates and reduce field exposure of seed crops by at least 2 years. The systems were thoroughly tested at the seed production farm of ICAR-CPRI before passing them on to farmers and other stakeholders. The latest hi-tech seed production system, standardized by the institute, is based on the concept of soil-less, aeroponic technology. More

US: Two new Russet varieties to be released soon

Jeanne Debons, executive director of the Potato Variety Management Institute, with potato varieties under her organization’s management at the recent University of Idaho Potato Conference in Pocatello, Idaho. PVMI is releasing two new varieties — Castle Russet and Echo Russet.Two new spud varieties are coming soon to the Pacific Northwest. Echo Russet and Castle Russet — developed by the Tri-State Potato Breeding Program that includes Oregon, Washington and Idaho — are just about ready to be released commercially, according to Sagar Sathuvalli with Oregon State University. Sathuvalli, a potato breeder at OSU’s Hermiston Agricultural Research and Experiment Center, discussed the traits of each variety with local growers during the station’s annual potato field day Wednesday. Both varieties boast high yields and good cooking quality, and can be used either for french fries or fresh market. Echo Russet — named for the nearby town — and Castle Russet are about to cross that finish line. The Capital Press reports that the Potato Variety Management Institute, which handles licensing and royalties for Tri-State varieties, has decided to release the latest creations in December. In February, Capital Press reported that officials representing the Idaho, Oregon and Washington potato breeding programs say they’re releasing a pair of new russet varieties that should help position the industry to cope with more stringent regulations on soil fumigants. The new varieties are billed as medium- to late-maturing potatoes appropriate for use in both the fresh market and processing, also having good culinary qualities and cold sweetening resistance, so they fry with a light color even after months in storage. Read more

Researchers engineer heat tolerance in potato crops

Scientists at the James Hutton Institute and the University of St. Andrews have developed a technique to ‘engineer’ heat tolerance in potato crops, potentially providing potato breeders with a valuable tool in their quest to create varieties suited to the requirements of growers, industry and retailers. The potato crop is particularly vulnerable to increased temperature, which is considered to be the most important uncontrollable factor affecting growth and yield, according to the researchers. By comparing many different types of potato, scientists at the Institute have found a version of a gene involved in the heat stress response that is more active in potato types that can tolerant high temperature. The team went on to show that the switch that turns the protective gene on  is different in the heat tolerant types. More

Canada: 180 variétés de pommes de terre conservées à Fredericton

Banque de gènes des pommes de terreLa pomme de terre, ce tubercule abondamment consommé dans les provinces atlantiques bénéficie d’un statut particulier à Fredericton. La capitale néo-brunswickoise possède une banque mondiale de pommes de terre. Les petits plants et les tubercules sont conservés précieusement dans un environnement contrôlé, afin de garder ce patrimoine mondial de biodiversité. Tous ces tubercules sont préservés pour préserver la biodiversité, mais surtout pour protéger les pommes de terre des catastrophes naturelles. Les plants ou les tubercules sont conservés au Centre d’excellence du Canada en matière de recherches sur la pomme de terre de Fredericton et y sont présents en près de 200 variétés. Dans les réfrigérateurs on trouve des pommes de terre de type Batoche, Slovenian crescent et d’autres qui portent des noms qui rappellent les Maritimes. Rapport

UK: European agribusiness representatives visit Hutton Institute to establish potato links

German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce visitors (c) James Hutton LtdJames Hutton Limited, the James Hutton Institute’s commercial subsidiary, has welcomed two delegations of European visitors to the Institute’s Dundee site as part of efforts to share knowledge and ideas with a huge variety of interest groups across the globe. A group of 20 visitors from the German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce visited the Institute as part of a market research trip to investigate the potato supply chain in the UK and Ireland. After a brief introduction to the Institute’s work, the delegation visited the Commonwealth Potato Collection (CPC), the UK’s genebank of landrace and wild potatoes, which is held in trust at the Dundee site. Similarly, a group of 25 members of FIWAP, a non-profit organisation responsible for the promotion and improvement of potatoes and seed potatoes in the southern Belgian area of Wallonia, visited the Institute’s site in Dundee to gain a close understanding of the Scottish potato seed and exporting industries  Continue reading

Nek-aan-nekrace tussen veredelaars en Phytophthora

Terwijl veredelingsbedrijven aardappelrassen ontwikkelen die resistent zijn tegen Phytophthora infestans, ontwikkelt de ziekteverwekker nieuwe agressieve stammen die zich snel over Europa verspreiden. Dat blijkt uit onderzoek van EuroBlight. Fytopatholoog Francine Govers is niet verbaasd. ‘Phytophthora is zo dynamisch.’ Gaan de nieuwe varianten de aardappeloogst aantasten? “Dat zal in de komende maanden blijken. We weten niet of de belangrijkste aardappelrassen resistent zijn tegen deze stammen. Dat kan per ras verschillen. De veredelaars vinden resistentie tegen Phytophthora belangrijk, maar nog belangrijker vinden ze de opbrengst, kleur en smaak van de aardappel.” Meer

US: Omnibus bill increases potato breeding funds

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate recently passed a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill that funds the government through the end of September. The conference report includes an increase in the NIFA Potato Breeding Research line item to $2.25 million. During the Potato D.C. Fly-In, National Potato Council (NPC) attendees advocated for $2.25 million to be included in the final agreement. NPC is pleased that the requested amount for this appropriations cycle was included. “Funding from the Potato Research Special Grants has supported the development of varieties that have improved levels of resistance to pests of concern including late blight, early blight and potato cyst nematodes, and improved market quality,” said NPC CEO John Keeling. “This increase will further help the industry address emerging pests and diseases.” (Source: National Potato Council Insider Report)

US: Genetically engineered potatoes approved for Maine

Impact of late blight disease on rows of conventional potatoes (left) and Innate™ Gen 2 potatoes (right) in Michigan as seen in this Nov 2015 photo.With little fanfare, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control unanimously approved earlier this month the registration of three new types of genetically engineered potatoes that have been developed by a major Idaho agribusiness company. The move means that the J.R. Simplot Co.’s Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic potatoes could be planted in Maine fields at any time. These potatoes were created by adding genes from a wild potato plant and are designed to be resistant to late blight. But genetically modified crops have been controversial in the past. Critics of the process say that won’t be any different for the Simplot potatoes, the second generation to be sold under the brand name Innate, although company officials say otherwise. More

Texas A&M to make designer potatoes to increase consumption

(Source: Texas A&M AgriLife Research)The Texas A&M AgriLife Research is making designer potatoes to increase potatoes consumption. “The average consumption in the U.S. is 113 pounds per year per person. But overall potato consumption in the U.S. has generally declined somewhat.” said Dr. Creighton Miller, a potato breeder with Texas A&M AgriLife Research. Miller said the objective of the Texas A&M potato breeding program is to develop improved varieties adapted specifically to Texas environmental conditions. “So what we are doing now is developing unique varieties that have a tendency to appeal to the younger set with high income who are willing to try something different,” he said. One type is a small potato, he said, adding that within the trials he is looking for varieties with a heavy set of small potatoes. More

Italy: Is this the potato of the future?

Agrico’s PK060108 variety might be the perfect new potato selection for Romagna. This option was discussed on 29th May 2017 in San Mauro Pascoli (Forlì-Cesena) during a technician day held at azienda agricola Fratelli Tramonti, organised by Consorzio Agrario Adriatico. “The PK060108 selection from Agrico (Netherlands) had excellent performances. I believe we will hear its name again and again in the future,” explained Crea Bologna researcher Bruno Parisi. More

Simplot postpones commercial introduction of Innate GMO potatoes in Canada

Simplot postpones commercial introduction of Innate GMO potatoes in CanadaSimplot Plant Sciences will not commercially launch its Innate GMO potatoes in Canada this year, despite regulatory approval and interest among potato farmers to grow these new potatoes, according to a report by CBC News. Doug Cole, director of marketing and communications, said Simplot is holding off allowing commercial growth of Innate potatoes in Canada until there’s a proven market for them. According to Cole, “There is strong interest from the grower community and retailers are also interested.” But it’s a very involved purchase decision.” He said there are about five acres of test plots on Prince Edward Island this year and the mentioned that Simplot Plant Sciences has also test plots in Ontario and Manitoba. More

US: Genetically engineered potatoes approved for Maine

With little fanfare, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control unanimously approved on Friday morning the registration of three new types of genetically engineered potatoes that have been developed by a major Idaho agribusiness company. The move means that the J.R. Simplot Co.’s Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic potatoes could be planted in Maine fields at any time. These potatoes were created by adding genes from a wild potato plant and are designed to be resistant to late blight, the disease that caused the mid-19th century Irish Potato Famine and which remains a problem today. More