Managing weight loss in potato storages

By now, potatoes in most of the U.S. and Canada have been in storage two months or longer. The crop is at holding temperatures specific to the cultivar and use. Storages are being monitored for disease development, desired temperature, ventilation and humidity. According to Nora Olsen and Mary Jo Frazier at the University of Idaho, what isn’t as easy to see is the amount of weight loss, or shrinkage, that is occurring in storage. Stored potatoes will lose weight from respiration (carbon and water loss), transpiration (direct water loss) and disease. Transpiration water loss is the greatest factor in weight loss unless high levels of disease are present – then that becomes the greatest contributor, especially if caused by any of the water rots. In small-scale research trials, weight loss was dependent upon initial curing temperatures, and 55 to 70 per cent of the total weight loss occurred in the first 30 days. In general, about three per cent weight loss was seen in the first month. Total weight loss after five months was about five per cent. Having information on weight loss, even after the fact, can help identify ways to manage the crop in future years. More

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Canada: New herbicide for broad-spectrum control of weeds in potatoes

Bayer has announced the launch of Sencor STZ, a powerful and innovative new herbicide for broad-spectrum control of all major annual grass and broadleaf weeds in potatoes. According to a news release, Sencor STZ combines the trusted control of Sencor with a new Group 14 mode of action, providing Canadian potato growers a new weed control option for their field and offering a convenient resistance management tool. As a pre-emergent herbicide, Sencor STZ has uptake through the roots and shoots of weeds, providing early season weed control during critical crop stages. The product works on emerged weeds and provides residual broad-spectrum control to weeds yet to germinate. It will be provided in a convenient co-pak. “As the first innovation in the potato herbicide space in many years, Sencor STZ offers an exciting new tool for Canadian potato growers to combat a wide spectrum of weeds and maximize crop yield,” says Jon Weinmaster, Crop & Campaign Marketing Manager, Horticulture & Corn at Bayer. More

McCain company executive makes predictions for future of potato industry

Ghislain PelletierWhile he maintains there will be a market for potatoes well into the future, Ghislain Pelletier predicts the future of the industry will bear little resemblance to the past. The global vice-president for agronomy for McCain Foods was one of the keynote speakers at the recent annual meeting of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board in Canada. He noted potatoes are a highly productive crop that can be grown in a number of climates. They are also one of the most healthy, offering more nutrition value than crops like rice when compared on a per acre basis. “The demand for potatoes will grow in developing countries,” he predicted. “The size of the global potato consumption pie will grow but the producer’s share will change.” The McCain executive also sees China and India becoming bigger players in the industry, predicting both countries will significantly increase their productivity and quality in the next decade. He noted both countries are improving their production practices with better seed and equipment. “New technology will continue to accelerate with trends like novel breeding,” he said. More

Idaho spud growers co-op says McCain contract is small potatoes

Idaho farmers who raise potatoes for making frozen fries fear a contract being offered by a Canadian food manufacturer could quash their chances of earning better profits in 2018 and 2019. Chuck Stadick, executive director of Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative, which represents Idaho growers in negotiations with potato processors, said McCain Foods circumvented the grower organization this fall and went straight to farms with an “unfair” contract. Stadick said dialogue with the other major processors — Lamb Weston and J.R. Simplot Co. — had been going well but stalled once the industry learned of McCain’s offer. Growers who signed the McCain contract say they’ve been prohibited from divulging details by a nondisclosure agreement. Growers and processors typically renegotiate their contracts annually. Sources have told SIPCO McCain’s contract would cover the next two seasons, locking prices paid to growers in at 2017 values, which Stadick contends were already depressed. More

Russia: Yamal’s scientists work on new potato varieties for Extreme North

Image result for Yamal russiaIn the coming year, Yamal’s authorities will begin work on new varieties of potato, which would be suitable for growing in the Extreme North’s conditions (the Yamal Peninsula is located in the northwest of Siberia). The local department of science and innovation will do the work jointly with specialists at the Yamal agricultural research station. “The science in Yamal is focused on applied tasks, related to the region’s industrial development, to studies in ecology factors’ influence on the health, to development of the agricultural complex,” the department said on Monday. “In 2018, we plan more active selective work of the Yamal agricultural research station on potatoes for the Extreme North.” TASS reported earlier that the Yamalo-Nenets Region supports scientific experiments in growing frost-resistant vegetables, plants and trees. In summer 2016, local specialists began an experiment to grow strawberries, currants and raspberries in the Extreme North conditions. More

UK: Outlook 2018 – Opportunities for potato growers in processing

Northern Europe continues to be a threat to an already over-supplied UK market. While the weak pound reduces the competitiveness of European production, the cost of production in mainland Europe is lower than here in the UK, due to better yields/crop utilisation and a generally lower cost base, says Andersons director Jay Wootton. The UK market for processed product continues to grow and the lack of investment in processing facilities generally is a concern, if growers are to take advantage of that market, says Mr Wootton. “Continental processors are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities provided, and displace home-grown tonnage. “Ware growers reviewing their strategy would do well to consider the option of processing contracts. However, the relative economics between ware and processing, and the productive capacity of their land base, will be dictating factors.” More

Fresh Solutions Network continues to innovate

CanivalCut FrenchFriesKathleen Triou, president & chief executive officer of the Fresh Solutions Network, LLC, a dedicated marketing services organization committed to the advancement of the fresh potato, sweet potato and onion categories, which collectively is in the top 5 largest growers, packers and shippers of potatoes in the US. “Fresh Solutions Network is a group of family-owned growers and shippers who choose to work together to make the potato and onion industry better for everyone,” she said. “They are the exclusive suppliers of the Side Delights brand of fresh potatoes.” “For FSN, potato sales have been up vs. a year ago.  We have created an inspiring potato portfolio of product lines, under the Side Delights brand name, that appeal to several types of potato consumers, satisfying multiple need states; value, convenience, all-in-one side dish, gourmet, single-serve, organic, etc.,” she said. While Triou noted there is no magic pill to be successful in the industry, in her experience, she would highlight consumer insight and customer service as being the most important traits. More

US: $105,000 grant will fund research into rotation crops for potato growers

A more than $100,000 grant will fund a project that to explore potential rotation crops for potato growers in the state, according to the Maine Potato Board. Jake Dyer, agronomist for the board, said Thursday that a $105,527 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program will support a two year project to develop “best management practices for pulse and oilseed crops in the Northeast.” He said there is a “relatively undeveloped market for pulse and oilseed crops and there is also a lack of best management practices. That may discourage people from planting them.”  Pulse crops include dry peas and beans, along with chickpeas and lentils. Oilseed crops include soybeans, sunflowers, flax and canola. More

Hershey goes beyond chocolate with acquisition of Tyrrell’s potato chips, SkinnyPop

Hershey goes beyond chocolate with acquisition of Amplify (Tyrrell's, SkinnyPop)Hershey Co. is expanding further beyond chocolate, agreeing to buy the owner of SkinnyPop popcorn and Tyrrell’s potato chips for $921 million. The U.S. candy giant agreed to buy Amplify Snack Brands Inc. for $12 a share, a 71 percent premium to Friday’s closing price. The company has about $600 million in debt and has seen its stock value dive since it went public in 2015. Hershey’s move signals the intent of new Chief Executive Officer Michele Buck to lead consolidation in the snacks industry after the maker of Kisses candy rejected a takeover bid from Oreo maker Mondelez International Inc. During a March investor meeting, Hershey’s management said it was particularly interested in companies that had accelerated growth in the U.S. snack industry. More

Lamb Weston announces $250 million investment in additional fry line

Lamb Weston invests 250 Million in additional French Fry line; Quarterly Dividend raisedLamb Weston Holdings, Inc. announced an expansion of french fry processing capacity in North America and an increase in its quarterly dividend. “The french fry category has been growing at attractive rates around the world, and we believe industry capacity has been challenged in recent years to keep up with continued growth in market demand,” said Tom Werner, President and CEO of Lamb Weston. “This investment in a new french fry processing line in the Columbia Basin reflects Lamb Weston’s continued commitment to support our strategic partners as they continue to grow their businesses in North America and abroad.” The Company announced an investment to expand operations at its Hermiston, Oregon, processing facility with the construction of a 300 million pound-per-year, state-of-the-art french fry line. The new line will be modeled on the Company’s recently operational production line in Richland, Washington, and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. The new Hermiston line is intended to support growth in North America, as well as exports to Asia where demand growth has been, and is expected to remain, strong. The expansion is expected to add approximately 170 full time positions. More

South Korea re-opens market for potatoes from Idaho, Washington and Oregon

South Korea Re-Opens Market for Table-Stock potatoes from Idaho, Washington and OregonOn Monday, the South Korean government announced the reopening of its market for table-stock potatoes from the Pacific Northwest states of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The market had been closed since July 2012 over technical concerns. Since that time, the U.S. potato industry worked with USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the South Korean government to address the issues raised by Korea. According to John Keeling, CEO National Potato Council, “the National Potato Council (NPC) thanks USDA APHIS and their Korean counterparts for their dedication to resolving this issue.” Exports from the Pacific Northwest will need to follow the newly established guidelines agreed to between the two governments. Further details on the requirements will be provided to the industry in early January. The market for U.S. table-stock potatoes is controlled by an annually expanding quota, the 2018 level will be 3,583 metric tons. Continue reading

Australia’s ‘Big Potato’ is up for sale

Australia’s ‘Big Potato’ Is Up For Sale & Everyone Wants It      We know that it’s Christmas and your bank accounts are getting a little dusty, but you guys… The Big Potato is up for sale. Living in the shadow of other large monuments like The Big Pineapple, Banana and Merino, The Big Potato is often undeservingly forgotten. But now, the giant spud could be yours. Located in Robertson, NSW, owners Heather and Neil Tait opened the Family Grocer 27 years ago before buying the land next door just four years ago. “We decided to buy the potato from Jim Mauger after another grocery shop intended to open in competition,” Heather told Canberra Times. “But to open they needed to buy the potato land and turn it into a carpark.” Heather and Neil bought the land to save the potato, and now that they are retiring, won’t sell their land without it. More

US: Stable potato pricing expected despite temperature issues throughout harvest season

2-Potandon-NWMkt---Steve-ElferingA map of shipping locations on the Potandon Produce LLC website shows 25 different locations around the United States, plus one in Canada, in addition to seven facilities in the company’s home state of Idaho, from which Potandon ships potatoes. The company also ships onions from various producing areas, but that’s another story. With regard to Potandon’s potato packing and co-packing network, “our philosophy is to be able to get potatoes to people any day and every day of the year,” said Steve Elfering, vice president of operations in an interview with The Produce News. “The heart of our potato sourcing,” both for russets and for other varieties, “is Idaho,” Elfering said. “That is what everything else builds off of. And most of what we ship here comes from our own ownership group or our dedicated supply group.” “There is the potential this year for … a fairly decent market nationwide on russets,” due to the combined effect of reduced acres and weather-related reduced yields in some locations,” he said. More

Support available to visit 10th World Potato Congress for delegates of developing countries

Support Available to visit 10th World Potato Congress for delegates of developing countriesDelegates to the 10th World Potato Congress from developing and transitional countries may qualify for financial support from World Potato Congress Inc. (WPC Inc.). David Thompson, President of WPC Inc. said today he is extremely pleased to announce WPC Inc. has agreed to subsidize up to four (4) delegates to the next World Potato Congress to be held in Cusco, Peru from May 27 to 30, 2018. WPC Inc. will provide $1,000 CAD to subsidize each qualifying delegate to Cusco. The funds may be used to cover the cost of everything from visa applications, flights, registration, accommodation or incidentals. Participants are encouraged to build a network of resource people to whom they can turn to for advice and direction. “it’s a win-win scenario for all involved,” said Mr. Thompson. To qualify for consideration, potential delegates must demonstrate specific needs and submit the information via email to WPC Inc. More

US: Red River Valley shipping ‘largest-volume crop in 20 or 25 years’, official says

PMA-NPPGARed River Valley growers of fresh market red and yellow potatoes this year are shipping five million hundredweight this season, the largest-volume crop in 20 or 25 years, according to Ted Kreis, marketing and communications director for Northern Plains Potato Growers Association based in East Grand Forks, MN. Kreis said this isn’t an all-time record, because the Red River Valley produced more potatoes in the 1960s and 1970s, “there were a lot more wash plants,” before there were so many competing growing regions. “I would really like to express how great our quality is. We’ve had problems the last few years. We had mud during a wet harvest last year. In 2015 we had growth cracks” on potatoes. But, “Our quality is excellent this year,” Kreis said. As sales progress this fall, “people are coming back for more.” Not only is the volume high and quality outstanding, but prices are even “holding their own” this fall. More