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Your Seed Potato Partner For North America

Your Seed Potato Partner For North America

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Keep up to date with the latest HZPC news and global potato news.




Potato News

New Chairman of Belgapom calls for better coordination of potato chain, founding of inter-branch organisation

The annual general meeting of Belgapom, the Belgian potato trade and processing industry association, has appointed Marc Van Herreweghe as its chairman. He succeeds Marc Seru who in accordance with the articles of association was not available for re-election after two terms of 3 years. Marc Van Herreweghe is the CEO of the family-owned potato processing company Mydibel in Mouscron.
7/7/2018

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McCain NZ pilot programme puts the power into potatoes

The humble potato is in for a shocking multi-million dollar makeover in New Zealand. An industry pilot programme worth almost $16.8 million, is being trialled at McCain Foods in Washdyke, Timaru, in what has been described as ?electrocuting potatoes?. The three month test of the new Pulsed Electric Field Technology (PEF) machine, from Germany, began in Timaru on Wednesday and involves industrial-scale food processing of the popular french fry.
7/7/2018

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Consumer trends put spotlight on blemish diseases

It?s not a surprise that the market for colored potato varieties, (red and yellows as well as fingerlings) has been on the rise in the last several years. What may be less obvious are the effects those market trends have on managing diseases. In the Red River Valley that means being more vigilant for blemish diseases like silver scurf.
7/6/2018

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UK facing ?crisp crisis? as ?potato crops wrecked by Beast from the East and blistering heatwave?

We have already been told beer and soft drinks could run out due to a CO2 shortage. And now, we are facing a ?crisp crisis?, it is reported. The head of a leading independent crisp makers has warned the heatwave ? following on from the Beast from the East last winter ? has played havoc with potato crops. Alex Albone, co-founder of Pipers Crisps, issued the warning just weeks after concerns over beer and soft drinks running out after Europe was hit by a carbon dioxide shortage.
7/6/2018

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Ireland?s potato prices to rise as weather affects yields

Consumers face increasing potato prices as the weather causes havoc with this year?s crop. A combination of the snow and blizzard conditions in February and March, the ongoing heatwave, and a dearth of rain will seriously affect crop yields, according to farmers. Eddie Doyle, of the potato committee of the Irish Farmers? Association (IFA), told the Irish Independent that potatoes had to be planted late this year.
7/5/2018

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US frozen potato exports up 8% in April; fresh exports down 33%

According to data released by Potatoes USA, exports of frozen potato products increased 8% in volume and 9% in value in April 2018 compared to April 2017. Dehy exports were up 21% in volume and 21% in value. Fresh exports were down 33% in volume and 13% in value. Frozen exports are up 1% for the July ? June marketing year through April, with dehy up 5% year to date and fresh up 5% for the marketing year.
7/5/2018

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Northern Ireland farmers hoping for rain as heatwave threatens to destroy crops

Farmers in Northern Ireland say they are praying for rain to avoid a disastrous harvest. The extended heatwave ? which could last for another fortnight ? is continuing to cause problems. Yesterday Armagh Observatory said it had recorded the warmest June since 1846. And June 27 saw the hottest temperatures ever noted by the observatory since it started taking daily measurements in 1795.
7/5/2018

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UNIKA welcomes PotatoEurope back in Germany for the 2018 event

During a recent public address in Frankfurt, the Deputy Chairman of the German potato industry union (Union der Deutschen Kartoffelwirtschaft e.V. ? UNIKA), Dr. Heinrich Bhm, said: ?We look forward to having PotatoEurope back in Germany in 2018 at Rittergut Bockerode, near Hanover, and feel UNIKA is an ideal partner for this leading technical trade fair for the potato industry. At the event, we will offer a central starting point for visitors, and will powerfully present the German potato industry.?
7/5/2018

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Belgium: Potato vending machines sprouting up in small villages

Potatoes occupy an exalted position in the cuisine of West Flanders. But what if you need some spuds after hours? Well, you?re in luck?rural Belgium has you covered. Vending machines have sprouted up in small villages around the countryside, where anyone can purchase potatoes and onions around the clock.
7/3/2018

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US: Consumer trends puts spotlight on blemish diseases

It?s not a surprise that the market for colored potato varieties, (red and yellows as well as fingerlings) has been on the rise in the last several years. What may be less obvious are the effects those market trends have on managing diseases. In the Red River Valley that means being more vigilant for blemish diseases like silver scurf.
7/3/2018

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New print magazine aimed at the global potato industry announced

A new print magazine aimed at the international potato industry will be published in early September this year. The magazine will be titled ?Global Potato News?. We are interested then to hear from individuals and companies who might want to submit an article, or place an advertisement in the magazine.
7/3/2018

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Canada: Kenyan delegation given up-close look at Prince Edward Island potato industry

A delegation from Kenya is turning to the potato industry in P.E.I. to help develop their important crop back home. ?We?ve been told big stories about potato production in Canada, especially in Prince Edward Island,?? says Kiraitu Murungi, governor of Meru County, the top producer of potatoes in Kenya. ?So, we thought this was the best place for us to come for a study tour of potatoes.??
7/3/2018

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International potato industry returns to Germany for PotatoEurope 2018

PotatoEurope 2018, the event for the international potato industry, returns to Germany on 12th and 13th September. PotatoEurope , which is an annual exhibition, is held in Germany every four years. This top trade fair for potato professionals, organized by the DLG (German Agricultural Society) in cooperation with the German Potato Industry Union (UNIKA), will again take place this year at Rittergut Bockerode Estate in Springe-Mittelrode, near Hanover.
7/2/2018

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Upbeat: Canadian potato growers feeling cautiously optimistic this season

Potato growers across Canada are reportedly feeling optimistic this season as increased demand for their product has created some newfound enthusiasm. The economic crash of 2008 reduced demand for Canadian spuds in some markets and the industry struggled to regain its lost footing. With the 2018 growing season well under way, there now seems to be a renewed sense of optimism among many Canadian potato growers. Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC), says the increase is largely attributable to processing companies like McCain and Simplot expanding their production lines in this country.
6/26/2018

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Drone tech in practice: Belgian service provider employs drones to improve assessment of seed varieties

As Belgium?s biggest service provider for agriculture and horticulture, AVEVE is continuously looking for innovative solutions. In plant breeding, specialists are looking to improve the objective quality assessment of new crop seed varieties. With mapEO, a new image processing solution for drone based phenotyping, AVEVE specialists can scale up their seed and agronomy expertise and offer the best possible varieties for every farmer. In one of their experimental fields in Belgium AVEVE grows 350 different plant varieties on 2,100 trial plots.
6/26/2018

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Scots charging: New and ambitious growth strategy announced for the potato, vegetable and fruit sector in Scotland

A group of leading businesses and organisations in Scotland?s potato, fruit, and vegetable industry have come together for the first time to create an ambitious new growth strategy for the sector. Announced over the weekend, Planting the Seeds of Growth identifies the key recommendations to grow the potato, fruit, and vegetable sector by 2030, bringing not just economic benefits but benefits to the nation?s health and to the environment as well.
6/25/2018

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28,000t of potatoes from a family farm in Ireland

Over the past 45 years, O?Shea Farms has progressed from a family partnership of four brothers ? Dick, John, Samus and Joe O?Shea ? to a business with a turnover of ?60 million per year. The company processes 28,000t of potatoes each year at its base in Piltown, Co. Kilkenny. Iverk Produce, a sister company, distributes 90% of the potatoes and vegetables produced to Aldi. O?Shea Farms is also a sole supplier of carrots to SuperValu. Iverk Produce was formed in the 1980s.
6/25/2018

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Let?s automate, mate: South Australian potato company partners with automation specialists to bring field to fork

The South Australian Potato Company, founded by the Raschella family in that region, has been supplying potatoes for ?every recipe, every occasion and every season for more than 20 years,? they say. Dealing with more than 60, 000 tons of potatoes annually obviously requires quality automation by reliable suppliers to ensure always-on productivity and extreme care with this wholesome produce. When looking to kit out its factory ? which does everything from washing and sorting to weighing and packaging potatoes ? The South Australian Potato Company eventually looked to SMC as its preferred supplier.
6/25/2018

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Research, South, Central America, Trends Edit Spain: New potato prices remain high in the domestic market

The Spanish potato campaign started in late May with the harvest of the first new potatoes from Seville. Frequent rains in the winter and spring not only caused a delay of about a month in the harvest of the first new potatoes, but also resulted in a 40% drop in the volume. ?The acreage devoted to ​​potato cultivation has been reduced by around 20% this year. If we take into account that the yields have been 30% lower in general in Seville, the volumes should drop by around 40%,? said Jos Pelez Izquierdo, manager of Sevillana de Patatas.
6/23/2018

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Potato store management is ?a complex process,? says author of new guide for store managers

A digital version of the Third Edition of the Store Manager?s Guide is now available and can be downloaded as a pdf file from the AHDB Potatoes website in the UK (a print version will be available in autumn 2018). The Guide was written by Adrian Cunnington, Head of Crop Storage Research at Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research. Cunnington writes in the introduction to the Guide that potato storage is a key element of modern-day potato production, looking to fulfill the demands of many markets.
6/23/2018

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Idaho potato growers optimistic about season

Idaho potato growers are optimistic about the season ahead, given the ideal growing conditions the state has experienced. ?Harvest is expected to commence in Idaho in the middle of July,? said Colin Gibson of 20/20 Produce Sales. ?The western part of the state will begin first as they have more heat units than the eastern part and therefore growers plant earlier. They are usually about three to four weeks ahead of eastern Idaho.? Gibson noted that weather conditions have been very favorable, with temperate conditions and just a moderate amount of rain.
6/23/2018

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World Potato Congress: Abstract Book now available online

The Abstract Book, containing abstracts of presentations delivered in May during the 10th World Potato Congress in Cuzco, Peru has been published online, and can now be downloaded as a pdf file from the World Potato Congress Inc website. In the Preface to the 168 page Abstract Book it is said that the themes ?Biodiversity, Food Security and Business? represent what Peru, as the host country and the most important center of origin of the potato, can show and share with the world.
6/22/2018

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Field walks and open days: British potato farmers invited to come get the boots dirty in demonstration fields

AHDB Potatoes in the UK will be hosting several events during the coming weeks when growers will be able to see the practical results of dedicated potato research work in real life and how it pans out in growers? fields. Strategic Farm West Field Walk will be hosted on 28 June. With their first year under their belt, Farm Manager, Matthew Wallace will be providing a fresh focus on research carried out at Heal Farms in Shropshire last season.
6/22/2018

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Spotting airborne foes: Novel spore trap designed to detect and identify key crop pathogens

An automated spore trap has been developed by researchers and industry partners in the UK which is said to have to potential to ?revolutionise disease monitoring in agricultural crops.? The device, which was developed as part of an AHDB project led by Rothamsted Research, provides near real-time information on the presence of airborne spores and could potentially help farmers target fungicide applications better.
6/22/2018

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McCain considering to build new potato processing plant in Idaho

McCain Foods USA, one of the world?s largest manufacturers of frozen potato products, is considering building a facility in Caldwell, Idaho, USA, and bringing as many as 544 jobs to the area. The company received approval Monday night for $400,000 in grants from the Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency. McCain Foods is considering a 17-acre property to build a proposed 164,000-square-foot facility, four times the size of Caldwell?s Walmart Neighborhood Market.
6/22/2018

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Great potato, great times: Idaho is building a better Big Potato

To say that Sharolyn and her husband Chris Schofield are the world?s top big potato experts is no overstatement. They have built two for the New Year?s Idaho Potato Drop and now two for the Potato Commission. The latest ? a four-ton potato ? will begin touring the nation Saturday, the star of the Potato Commission?s multi-million dollar promotion effort that will take it to 70 events this year. Since fall, Idaho?s new Big Idaho Potato has been Schofield Designs? full-time job.
6/21/2018

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Research in action: PCN advisory tool under scrutiny

Four potato varieties not known to be resistant to white potato cyst nematode (Globodera pallida) have given much better yields than eight others in the first year of a two-season SARIC-funded research project in the UK. The latest work aims to improve AHDB?s potato cyst nematode population advisory tool, explains Matthew Back, of Harper Adams University.
6/21/2018

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Plants in the bag: PepsiCo India to launch plant-based packaging for Lay?s chips

Rising concerns around plastic pollution have compelled FMCG companies to rethink their packaging solutions. Food and beverage major PepsiCo, for instance, announced it will launch the first-ever 100% compostable, plant-based packaging for Lay?s and Kurkure snacks products, this year. ?As a responsible leader in the food and beverage industry, our Performance with Purpose 2025 goal is to design all packaging to be recoverable or recyclable, and supports increased recycling of plastic waste,? said Ahmed ElSheikh, president & CEO at PepsiCo India.
6/21/2018

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It takes an industry to identify and solve problems, says recipient of World Potato Congress award

Gary Secor, a professor in North Dakota State University?s Plant Pathology Department, is one of three scientists worldwide to receive the 2018 Industry Award from the World Potato Congress. He received the award during the 10th World Potato Congress, which was held last month in Cusco, Peru. During his career, Secor has published information on numerous potato diseases that have had a substantial impact on the industry. He has discovered several new diseases, including the zebra chip. In addition, he has authored more than 91 publications and 12 book chapters
6/20/2018

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Spuds in the Box: New initiative from Potatoes USA targets the meal kit market

To get the word out to this growing market, Potatoes USA recently mailed meal kit inspired materials to 25 leading meal kit companies. The potato filled package included a welcome letter, dehydrated potato product information, meal kit-friendly recipes (each utilizing a different form of dehydrated potatoes) and samples of the ingredients themselves. A logo?d potato friendly spatula and USB drive containing videos of chefs preparing delicious dishes using dehydrated potatoes rounded out the box.
6/20/2018

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Wall Street rumor: Will Kraft Heinz buy Pepsico?

Kraft Heinz Co., producer of Ore-Ida American brand of potato-based frozen foods, is hungry for a big deal, but can it stomach a fight? ?Based on how quickly they walked away from Unilever last year,? Morningstar analyst Erin Lash told TheStreet on Monday, June 18, ?they don?t seem to want to be involved in a hostile takeover.? In Feb. 2017, Kraft Heinz approached Unilever NV with a $143 billion bid. Yet when Unilever?s board and management team opposed it, Kraft Heinz promptly abandoned its plans.
6/20/2018

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Hot potato fries: A different kind of brain food

A team of international scientists appear to have discovered why hot potato fries/chips are so tasty. Simply put, the brain gets ?hijacked? by the combination of high-fat and high-carbohydrates ? making hot chips and similar food highly attractive. Scientists from Yale University wired 206 people up to brain scanners, and then showed them images of fatty, carby and so-called ?combo? snacks like hot fries ? which are high in both carbs and fat. Every time an image of a combo snack came on the screen, the reward centres in the subjects? brains lit up ? regardless of whether they said they liked it or not.
6/18/2018

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Plant disease diagnostic company expands into the US

Pocket Diagnostic announces the addition of another distributor of its plant disease rapid tests in the United States. Potadaho Seed Services (?Potadaho?) joins the Pocket Diagnostic distributor network having amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in the potato industry in the Pacific Northwest over many years. UK based Pocket Diagnostic plant disease tests have been benefiting the potato, horticulture and forestry industries for nearly twenty years. Pocket Diagnostic produces in-field results in a matter of minutes
6/18/2018

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Potato virus Y: Reasons why potato growers should pay attention to this serious disease

Potato virus Y (PVY) is one of the most common problems in potato fields, but can be hard to detect and some people do not recognize it when they see it. With plenty of other things to worry about, some growers may not consider PVY a serious threat and have not learned to recognize the symptoms. But this attitude is changing as more potato crops are impacted by the virus. PVY has been around a long time but only recently has become a serious problem for potato growers in North America.
6/18/2018

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Cool move: Albert Bartlett ventures into chilled potato market; set to open new production plant

Albert Bartlett, based in Scotland, is venturing further into the prepared potato market with the development of several chilled potato products. Having already entered the frozen potato market in 2015, the potato supplier is now set to open a new chilled plant at the company headquarters in Airdrie in September. Creating 50 new jobs, the factory will have capability to process 50,000t of potatoes for sale at retail and foodservice. This equates to roughly a third of the current total prepared market.
6/18/2018

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British expert provides timely advice on common scab control with irrigation

Recent dry weather in parts of the UK will mean that more and more growers will be thinking about irrigation, which is a vital time for common scab control. Dr Mark Stalham, Senior Scientist at NIAB CUF whose research, combined with demonstrations held at the Strategic Potato Farm network provided the most up-to-date guidance on common scab control, advises: ?Despite late planting, emergence from late April and early May plantings has been rapid and has occurred over a very short period in 2018.
6/17/2018

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Danish growers in the grip of severe drought; millions of Euros at stake

Danish news site ATL reports that Danish farmers are seriously affected by the ceaseless drought. If the drought lasts as long as in 1992, total losses could rise to millions of euros. Precipitation in Denmark is still a no-show, and many experts are already making comparisons with the extreme drought in 1992, when agricultural yields dropped by 23 per cent. According to regional newspaper Fyens from Funen, the drought affects growers of a variety of crops, including potatoes.
6/17/2018

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Western Australia releases latest update on presence of tomato potato psyllid

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Western Australia (DPIRD WA) has released the latest industry update on the presence of the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) in the state. This update, which is available in English or Vietnamese, contains information on a range of related areas, including the wind-up of the transition to management phase for the response, a snapshot of results from TPP research and development, and reminders about pre-harvest control options and the Quarantine Area currently in place in Western Australia.
6/16/2018

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Kettle Foods to invest 2.7M in facility upgrades

Kettle Foods, the crisp manufacturer, is to invest 2.7m at its Norwich site in the UK to develop a new potato intake building. The new project will see the relocation and upgrade of Kettle Foods? entire potato reception process to a new building on spare land adjacent to the existing factory. This will mean that there will be almost no interruption to current manufacturing, the company said.
6/16/2018

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Spud think tank: Roundup of the World Potato Congress event in Peru

Tubers were the talk of the town in Cusco, Peru during the week of May 27, when the 10th World Potato Congress (WPC) and the 28th Congress of the Latin American Potato Association (ALAP) were held together for the first time. The event drew more than 800 participants from 50 countries to the potato?s center of origin for four days of scientific presentations, networking, field trips and celebration of the potato?s cultural and economic importance. The role that potatoes can play in improving the lives and health of the world?s population was a major theme of the gathering.
6/15/2018

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King of the vegetable tribe in the US: The Spud. Of course?

According to the USDA/ERS (Economicc Research Service) food availability data, Americans consumed an average of just over 156 pounds of fresh and processed vegetables per person in 2015. The loss-adjusted food availability data series takes per capita supplies of food available for human consumption and adjusts for some of the spoilage, plate waste, and other losses in restaurants, grocery stores, and the home to more closely approximate consumption. Potatoes claimed the #1 spot at nearly a third of the total ? just more than 48 pounds per person.
6/15/2018

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McCain trialling multi-species cover crop blend for rotation in Canada?s potato province

Soil organic matter (SOM) has become a popular topic of discussion in the past year in Canada. On Prince Edward Island, still Canada?s largest potato producing province, the issue of low SOM levels is also a concern. During the 2018 International Potato Technology Expo this past February, soil health was one of the topics for presentation and discussions, as much of a concern among industry stakeholders as it is for growers. One of the surprising sights at the 2018 Potato Expo was at the McCain booth, where attendees could view a slide presentation on the company?s introduction of a multi-species cover crop blend, with a bag of the seed mix on display.
6/15/2018

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Old foe, new offspring: What do we know about the new, emerging clones of Phytophthora Infestans in Europe?

In an insightful and important article published earlier this week on the EuroBlight website, late blight expert Dr Jens Gronbech Hansen in Denmark asks: What do we know at this time about the new clones of all potato growers? arche enemy, Phytophthora Infestans? Hansen says that over the last five years EuroBlight has undertaken and coordinated an extensive survey of European populations of the late blight pathogen, P. infestans. The most recent data from the EuroBlight monitoring initiative highlighted the emergence of three new clonal lineages, named EU_36_A2, EU_37_A2 and EU_41_A2, in different parts of Europe.
6/15/2018

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Rather safe than sorry: Aussies to release Potato Growers Biosecurity Manual

The Potato Growers? Biosecurity Manual is a guide to farm biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of weeds, pests, and diseases impacting production. It was developed by Plant Health Australia (PHA) with consultation from AUSVEG and potato growers across NSW, Victoria and South Australia. The manual is designed for use by potato growers and their staff, as well as contractors, processors, researchers, and consultants working in the potato industry. It gives specific advice on what potato producers need to be aware of, and what measures they should be taking on their farm to reduce biosecurity risks.
6/14/2018

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Untying the knots: Dutch researchers look at biocontrol of root knot nematodes by increasing soil disease suppressiveness

In organic vegetable cultivation in the Netherlands, root knot nematodes are one of the major problems. According to scientists at Wageningen Plant Research, the problems with root knot nematodes is also increasing in other soil based cultivation systems. The numbers of available and effective chemical control products against soilborne diseases and pests are limited, though. In addition, the combination of different pathogens can be a problem in soil-based cultivation.
6/14/2018

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US and Indonesia sign market access agreement for US fresh potatoes

On June 5, the United States and Indonesia reached a market access agreement that will allow U.S. fresh potatoes to be exported to Indonesia under a defined set of phytosanitary requirements. The agreement comes after four years of discussions and will include both U.S. chipping potatoes for further processing and table-stock potatoes for direct consumption. Potatoes produced in all U.S. states are included in the agreement. U.S. potato growers and exporters will need to follow the requirements in the protocol to ensure Indonesia?s quarantine security, according to a June 12 press release issued by Potatoes USA.
6/13/2018

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Luther Burbank: A tribute to America?s greatest horticulturist

Luther Burbank was America?s most legendary horticulturist. At the turn of the 20th century, he developed hundreds of new fruit, vegetable, and flower varieties, creating marvels such as the Shasta daisy and the Santa Rosa plum. If America had a national plant, it might be his russet Burbank potato, which alleviated the lingering effects of the Irish famine and makes up most of McDonald?s potato fries today.
6/13/2018

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Allies in the skies: Drone industry launches into specialty agriculture market

In this well researched, in depth article on the current application of drones in agriculture, Stephen Kloosterman, Assistant Editor at Vegetable Growers News writes that drone scouts are poised to make precision agriculture even more exact as drone technology advances. Seventeen percent of all commercial registered drones in 2017 in the US were used for agriculture, making it the third-highest use for the machines.
6/13/2018

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Breath of Life: How to optimize ventilation in potato storage facilities

?Potatoes in storage are living. It is the job of the storage manager to ensure the crop sustains that life,? writes storage specialist Duane Gorman in the Potatoes in Canada magazine. He points out that after a final holding temperature is achieved in storage, it is important to ventilate properly in order to manage the byproducts of respiration, ensure a uniform temperature and an ideal environment for the duration of the storage period, which will maximize the value of the crop.
6/13/2018

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Pick-a-choose your Big Mac: Burger and fry chain to add more customer choice and variety

As McDonald?s seeks to modernize its business, the company is placing a big bet on mobile and other tech platforms, including mobile phones. McDonald?s has been systematically adding self-service ordering kiosks and table service to stores as it works to ?build a better McDonald?s.? ?What we?re finding is when people dwell more, they select more,? CEO Steve Easterbrook told CNBC on ?Squawk on the Street? on Monday.
6/12/2018

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