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Priory Vodka is an award winning new crop for British potato farmer

David, from Priory Farm, Syningthwaite, near Wetherby in Yorkshire, launched Priory Vodka three years ago using potatoes to form its base spirit. In those three years the brand has gone from strength to strength, now boasting ten flavoured varieties alongside his original vodka. “It’s the use of the spud that sets our vodka, and now Priory Gin, apart from many of the rest who use grain. “We’ve developed our own gin purely as a London dry gin style so far.”

UK: New blight forecasting app launched

British potato growers can now access the latest blight forecasting information with launch of a new simple to use smartphone app by UPL UK & Ireland. The UPL Blight Forecast App, displays Hutton Period and Smith Period data, alongside additional layers of information such as leaf wetness and spray conditions. Once downloaded, users can identify and save multiple field locations by adding a pin in a satellite map.

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Second growth: A physiological potato problem induced by heat and drought

Second growth is a physiological potato problem induced by prolonged air temperatures above 280C and water stress, according to Dr Eugenia Banks, potato specialist working in Ontario, Canada. These 2 factors interact to limit the tuber growth rate, thus causing second growth. Inadequate soil moisture alone does not result in the initiation of second growth.

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Estimates show small drop in UK potato planted area

New estimates show a small drop in the UK planted area for potatoes despite a turbulent season for growers. Provisional figures from AHDB show the planted area in Britain at 119Kha, which, if correct, shows only a 1 percent drop on last year. The fall takes into account revisions to the 2019 planted area data since September. The figures suggest a minimal impact from the coronavirus crisis on planting decisions, as many growers had already made plans by the time the pandemic hit.

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The sad story of US potatoes being destroyed during the coronavirus pandemic…

Folks, I have nothing to add, really? Just watch the video below and you will see and realize how many potato growers – especially in the Northwest of the US – suffered an unprecedented and terrible catastrophe this year when the COVID-19 crisis hit the industry… It is sad, it is nearly unthinkable – but it is real… Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those hard working potato growers…

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IFA: Long-term impact of COVID-19 ‘likely to be felt for some time’ in Europe

As restaurants re-opens this week in Ireland, there is an air of optimism that the food service sector will begin to return to some form of “new-normal”, according to the IFA. Across Europe the impact of the lockdown is beginning to come to light, processing activity in Holland in May is estimated to have reduced to 65% of capacity compared to the year before and in France it reduced to 52%. The situation is improving now, however, the long-term impact is likely to be felt for some time.

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Gleaning network distributes Maine potatoes

COVID-19’s emergence around the world quickly raised alarm bells for many people regarding the ability of our global food chain to respond. In Maine, millions of pounds of potatoes no longer had markets as schools, restaurants and other institutions shut down. The Maine Gleaning Network, in an effort to salvage some of this lost income to farmers and to get food to people who need it, organized the purchase and distribution of 40,000 pounds of Aroostook County potatoes from Irving Farms Marketing, representing multiple potato farmers in the area.

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Vegetable growers in the US rally to conquer COVID-19-induced challenges

The vegetable industry in 2020 is living through extraordinary times. The State of the Vegetable Industry survey that Growing Produce conducted this year gave invaluable insight into what you are experiencing when it comes to production issues, labor, and specialized areas like protected agriculture and technology. “When the government says you can’t have any customers, guess who becomes your customer? The government,” Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council (NPC) says. It’s only a short-term solution, he says.

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Canada: Newfoundland invests $2.75M for land development to increase potato production

Newfoundland and Labrador will invest $2.75 in funding for land development to increase large-scale potato production. The investment is part of a nearly $13 million funding announcement to create jobs in the province’s agriculture sector and assist farmers and producers. The $13 million in funding is part of a plan to support employment in rural communities and help open new markets and products for renewable resource-based businesses during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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Keep your eyes peeled for the latest potato research

Potato rowers can tune in to hear about all the latest in potato research through a series of webinars from the AHDB in the UK, Running from July 6 until the 9th, AHDB has put together a virtual ‘Potato Showcase Week’ highlighting the results of the on-farm trials taking place at its Strategic Potato Farms across the UK, as well as a series of webinars on industry-related topics ranging from agronomic management to future solutions and market dynamics.

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Kenian govt reportedly to construct multi million dollar cold storage facility for potatoes

The National Government in Kenya will reportedly build a multi-million dollar cold-room storage facility in Molo in the country to “cushion potato farmers against post-harvest losses and eliminate exploitation by brokers”.The cold room is reportedly designed to hold four million kilograms (4,000 metric tonnes) of potatoes, and will be equipped with an information centre and storage area which will prolong the shelf life of the potatoes for a period of four to six months, maintaining its quality. Nakuru is among the largest producers of the crop in Kenya with the County accounting for 18.9 percent of national production.

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Disease risk for potato growers from alternaria and late blight this season

Following the second wettest winter on record across Britain, dealing with crop trash and volunteers has been difficult to tackle in the field. This will lead to an increased inoculum reservoir and a heightened risk for development of alternaria and late blight this season. Technical Manager at UPL UK & IE, and potato crop specialist, Don Pendergrast discusses further.

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Potato chip heiress wins back control of fortune

The heiress to the Golden Flake potato chip empire is for now back in control of her fortune after a ruling Thursday by the Alabama Supreme Court. Joann Bashinsky is the widow of Sloan Y. Bashinsky, Sr. who owned the majority stock in Golden Enterprises, Inc., and who was the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Golden Flake Foods. Her personal estate is estimated to be worth $80 million, and her entire estate was valued at $218 million.

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Canada: More potatoes? Saskatchewan announces $4-billion project doubling irrigable land

Premier Scott Moe announced a $4-billion irrigation project that will irrigate 500,000 acres of land from Lake Diefenbaker and double the irrigable land in Saskatchewan. Stephanie Gordon of Potatoes in Canada reports. The project is beginning with an immediate $22.5 million investment in preliminary engineering and initial construction. Water is critical to potato production, and expanding irrigation capacity in Saskatchewan will broaden the crop options for producers.

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Video: Shifts in the US foodservice industry, and how chefs find inspiration from potatoes

In this episode of Potatoes USA’s “Keeping it Current” initiative, Kendra Keenan, Global Marketing Manager for Foodservice, talks about the shifts in foodservice and how chefs and operators from across the globe are finding potato inspiration for their menus and getting more creative to drive sales. Kendra also touches on the numerous marketing materials created for foodservice operators and where they can be accessed.

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NPC President: Quarantine measures continue to reverberate throughout the US potato industry

With the nation continuing to reel from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Potato Council’s annual summer meeting was held using Zoom teleconferencing and Facebook on June 25. Potato sales have slightly rebounded but the impact to institutional food sales across the nation following quarantine measures taken in the middle of March continues to reverberate, according to Raybould. Kam Quarles, NPC’s CEO, said the USDA’s most recent efforts to provide additional financial assistance to specialty crops, including potatoes, has missed the mark

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Potato storage specialist on the future of crop storage and the role of maleic hydrazide

Earlier today, UPL Open Ag in the UK published a short video on Twitter in which UPL agronomist Don Pendergrast discusses potato storage issues with Adrian Briddon, storage specialist with Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research (SBCSR). SBCSR is the leading post-harvest applied research facility for agricultural storage in the UK. It is the primary independent centre providing potato storage research and advice to the GB industry.

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UPGI: Idaho potato crop ‘second lowest since 1998, harvest expected to be down more than 6 million hundredweight’

In a June 30 report published by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) it is estimated Idaho planted 300,000 acres this season, down by 10,000 acres from the prior year. The United Potato Growers of Idaho estimated a deeper cut in Idaho’s planted potato acreage, at 295,790 acres. “It will be the second lowest acreage since 1998. That’s good news,” said Rick Shawver, CEO of UPGI. Based on Idaho’s average potato yield, the acreage reduction could reduce the state’s harvest by more than 6 million hundredweight of spuds, according to Dan Hargraves, executive director of Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative.

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Action Africa: First Yara fertilizer shipment sets sail for Kenya and Tanzania

On 28 June, the first shipment of Yara’s premium fertilizer sat sail from Yara’s production facility in Porsgrunn, Norway towards East Africa. Yara has committed 40,000 tonnes of premium fertilizer, agronomic expertise and digital enablement to smallholder farmers in a public-private partnership supported by the UN World Food Program, the Norwegian government and African institutions. Heading for Kenya and Tanzania, the first 20,000 tonnes of YaraMila onboard the cargo ship Bonette left the plant during the early morning hours on Sunday.

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Fascinating: Amber fossils reveal the true colors of 99-million-year-old insects

Researchers have discovered the true colors of a group of fossilized insects, trapped in amber approximately 99 million years ago in Myanmar. The ancient insects include cuckoo wasps, soldier flies, and beetles, all bursting in metallic blue, purple, and green colors. “The amber is mid-Cretaceous, approximately 99 million years old, dating back to the golden age of dinosaurs,” said Cai Chenyan, the lead author, in a press release.

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Analysis: Changing consumer trends in Britain

Farmers and the wider food supply chain are used to responding to changing consumer requirements. However, it is hard to recall a time when the consumer landscape changed quite as dramatically as over these last three months of lockdown. AHDB has been following these changes closely, so whether considering shopping behaviour or the rise of in-home eating, AHDB has been reporting on the key issues which affect the demand for sectors’ products. Within this article, David Swales, AHDB Head of Strategic Insight, summarises some of the key factors which shape consumer demand.

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Trending: ‘The Age of Agrochemicals is Ending – It’s Time for Agricultural Biotechnology’

As Europe moves to reduce its reliance on agrochemicals in the farming system over the next 10 years and beyond, a crucial question emerges: what replaces them? Agricultural biotechnology could provide the answer, writes Farhan Mitha in this insightful article published by Labiotech Insider. The use of agrochemicals — pesticides, fertilizers, and plant growth enhancers — has been crucial to humanity over the last century. Yet, their impact on the environment has become too profound to ignore, and they’re increasingly seen as 20th-century instruments that are ill-suited for 21st-century challenges.

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Opinion: ‘EU and US markets are an ocean apart’

While the US market has tightened over the last few weeks as orders from foodservice outlets return and shoppers continue to buy more potatoes and potato products for home consumption, there has been a decidedly weaker tone to the EU market as it becomes apparent that growers have not cut back plantings this year and the weather becomes more favourable for the growing crop. This observation is made by Cedric Porter, Editor of World Potato Markets.

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The Netherlands: Ware potato acres down, seed potato area up this season

This year, the total cultivation area for ware potatoes in the Netherlands has declined by nearly 1.8 thousand hectares to 77 thousand hectares (-2.3 percent), according to a report issued this week by Statistics Netherlands. According to information published in the report, areas planted for seed and starch potato use have increased slightly over the past twelve months; both by approximately 1 percent. The share of seed potatoes in the total potato area has continued to rise slightly again over the past year.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher

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