The ins and outs of potato storage

In potatoes, the factors that affect storage performance include environment, your agronomy, varietal traits, disease, and harvest and management practices.Post-harvest potato storage expert Todd Forbush of Techmark Inc. in Lansing, Mich., says quality potato storage requires just two things: quality storage facilities and quality potatoes to store. “Neither will meet their potential without both working successfully together,” he says. The first step is to evaluate your existing facility to decide if it needs just an upgrade or something different entirely. When evaluating an existing structure, you need to look at its location, the structure itself, its insulation system, its ventilation systems and the controls. “Why is it that we have a ventilation system in potato storage?” Forbush asks. Because you want to create a uniform environment, while at the same time maintaining proper potato temperature. You also want to provide oxygen for respiration and remove carbon dioxide from respiration. The second part of the quality potato storage equation is the potato itself. In potatoes, the factors that affect storage performance include environment, your agronomy, varietal traits, disease and harvest and management practices. The most important factor in determining storage performance is variety. More


Fast-food potato fries come with ecological impacts

Skinny, white friesThe popularity of Russet Burbank potatoes in North America, grown to meet demand for fast-food french fries, is said to have an ecological impact because their long growing season requires lots of fertilizer and fungicides. To grow these “bulked-up” tubers, farmers are encouraged to apply excessive applications of nitrogen fertilizer – recommendations have been designed to provide easy nitrogen access to the tubers. However, the extra nitrogen fertilizer not taken up by plants in wet, late season soils can transform to nitrious oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Nitrogen fertilizer remaining in the soil also transforms to nitrate, leaching into ground water. In order to make long, skinny, white French fries, processors are paying a premium to farmers for large Russet Burbank potatoes. Farmers grow what is profitable. The white colour of Russet Burbanks and the efficiency of excising optimal numbers of lengthy fries from these tubers are just the ticket for processors seeking to meet this peculiar market. The Little Potato Company ( is specializing in growing and processing small creamer potatoes. The ecological footprint of this product is much smaller than hefty potatoes for fries. More

First UK deposit in Global Seed Vault

The Commonwealth Potato Collection (CPC), an invaluable repository of potato germplasm held in trust by the James Hutton Institute with support from the Scottish Government, is set to make the first deposit of plant genetic material by a UK institution into the Global Seed Vault. The deposit is built in accordance with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Situated inside a sandstone mountain on the island of Spitsbergen, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, the Global Seed Vault at Svalbard is the world’s largest collection of crop diversity. It constitutes a fail-safe seed storage facility built to stand the test of time and protect invaluable genetic resources from possible future catastrophic global environmental events. More

Canada: Une quinzaine de nouvelles variétés de pommes de terre à l’honneur à Fredericton au N.-B.

Des pommes de terre d'apparences variéesElle sont rondes, allongées, rouges, blanches et parfois même violettes. Ces pommes de terre font partie des quinze nouvelles variétés que l’équipe du centre de recherche et de développement de Fredericton à Nouveau-Brunswick a présenté mercredi lors de sa journée portes ouvertes. Cette année la moitié des nouvelles pommes de terre proposées sont des variétés à peau rouge. Dans ce secteur de recherche il faut voir venir à l’avance les modes et les tendances de l’industrie et du marché parce qu’il faut compter plusieurs années avant la mise en marché. Les nouvelles variétés à peau rouge cumulent plusieurs qualités alors que les variétés de Russet qui ont été développées ont une plus longue durée de conservation en entrepôt et des niveaux de sucre qui demeurent stables, ce qui les rend intéressantes pour les fabricants de frites. Rapport

Centroamérica recibe 70 clones de papa del CIP

Centroamérica recibe 70 clones de papa del CIPCon el objetivo de mejorar la competitividad en la agrocadena de papa, el Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura (IICA) y la Unión Europea (UE), a través del Programa Regional de Investigación e Innovación por Cadenas de Valor Agrícola (PRIICA) introducirán a finales del primer trimestre del 2017 un total de 70 líneas mejoradas de papa desarrolladas por el Centro Internacional de la Papa (CIP), informó el programa a través de su Boletín informativo. El documento destaca que la selección de estas líneas fue realizada en conjunto entre especialistas del Programa de Mejoramiento Genético del CIP y técnicos de los Institutos Nacionales de Investigación Agrícola (INIA), quienes tomaron en consideración las variantes agroecológicas y de mercado propias de cada uno de los países donde el PRIICA tiene acción. Link

Canada: Red-skinned potato varieties lead selections by breeders

Red-skinned potatoes are sure to be on the minds and menus of many after remarkable results shown by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s selections this year. Red-skinned varieties made up half of the total selections AAFC breeders released to industry during the annual Potato Selection Release Open House on Wednesday. For the first time, the program will unveil a multi-purpose red-skinned selection, showing promise for processing as wedges and as a traditional table potato. In all, 15 selections were displayed this year by the AAFC breeding program for industry representatives. The selections were narrowed down from more than 100,000 hybrid seedlings grown, tested and measured over six years in AAFC greenhouses, laboratories and fields across Canada. For close to two decades, the province has participated in variety variation with the federal government by hosting regional trial sites. More

India: Demand for low sugar content potato rising

Demand of Malwa grown low sugar grade (LSG) potatoes is increasing at a rate of about 10 per cent per annum by food processing units across India. As per the market estimate, the demand of low sugar grade potatoes has surged to 27 lakh tonne from 7 lakh tonne in 2001 mainly by chips and snacks makers. LSG potatoes are stored under a specific temperature so that starch does not get converted into glucose and fructose making them sweet. Malwa is a leading potatoes growing region with an estimated production of about 20 lakh tonne of which 3 lakh tonne is stored under LSG technology. Ravi Prakash Agrawal, DGM at a cold storage unit said, “Normal potatoes are stored at a temperature of two to four degree Celsius but for reducing the sugar content potatoes have to be stored at eight to ten degree Celsius.” Industry experts expect that by the year 2020, production of Malwa potatoes is expected to touch 30 lakh tonnes. More

Late blight resistant potato variety gaining popularity in Bangladesh

Late blight resistant potato variety Sarpo Mira gaining popularity in Bangladesh The potato variety Sarpo Mira, highly resistant to late blight, is getting popular among farmers in the main potato-growing areas of Bangladesh, due to its higher output, said farmers and officials. Potato growers can get 38-42 percent more output at considerably 20 percent lower costs by cultivating the late blight resistant potato variety Sarpo Mira, they said. Giant Agro Processing Ltd (GAPL), a sister concern of Giant Group, imported and developed the seeds for local farmers, said its officials in a recent field visit in Thakurgaon. Four varieties were imported by Giant Agro Processing Ltd in 2011 from Denmark-based Danespo under a joint venture (JV) in a DANIDA (Danish International Development Agency) B2B- supported programme. Chairman of Giant Group Feroz M Hassan said the fungal infection called ‘late blight’ wreaks havoc on potato production each year and sometimes farmers lose 25 to 57 percent of their yield. More

Canada: In search of better chippers, wedgers and mashers

20170215 Tatters roThere were a lot of new potato varieties to choose from at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Potato Selection Release Open House. This was the second year the Ontario release has been held in Guelph. Every year, federally sponsored plant scientists come up new strains of tatters. A few weeks in advance of the planting season, those varieties and the scientific evidence related to them are put on display. Growers then have the option to test them out. Vanessa Currie is a research technician with U of G’s potato research program. She was on-hand at the release. The potato industry, she said, is varied and always changing. There are table potatoes and chipping potatoes, potatoes that make optimal French fries and those that make the best wedges. This year, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is excited by the new varieties of red potatoes. One new line is testing well as a wedge contender, and another has improved cold storage capacities. Red-skinned varieties made up about half of the total selections at the open house.

Europe, Canada: Could GM potatoes be headed to Europe via CETA?

Could genetically modified potatoes soon be exported to Europe courtesy of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)? The Government of Canada has stated, „CETA will not only open new markets [for Canada in Europe] for raw ingredients, it will open up new markets for the food processing and beverage industry.“ For example, Global Affairs Canada boasts that under CETA EU tariffs would be eliminated on potatoes and frozen potato products, such as french fries. Now, the Canadian Press reports, „Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have approved a genetically engineered potato for sale, said a U.S.-based company on [March 21] in announcing that its non-browning spuds could be in Canadian supermarkets by Thanksgiving. The article highlights, „The potatoes could be grown in Canada this season and be in stores by the fall.“ More. Original article

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada: Our potato varieties have something for everyone

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada: Our potato varieties have something for everyoneWith names like AAC Poppy, AAC Glossy, and AAC Red Viola – today’s marketplace for spuds is no longer as simple as “you say PO-TAY-TOE, I say PO-TAH-TOE.” These potatoes are among the more than 30 varieties developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) that are currently under license by the Canadian industry for sale to domestic and international markets. The process of identifying potato selections that have the potential to deliver on industry needs takes six years to complete before they are shared with the potato industry through AAFC’s Accelerated Release Program. Only a few star performers make the cut each year out of more than 100,000 candidates. Ten to fifteen of the best of the best selections developed by the AAFC breeding program are unveiled to industry during a special annual Potato Release Open House event, held simultaneously at different locations across the country. More

University of Idaho to grow nuclear potato seed program

Matt Roth, left, the new greenhouse manager for the University of Idaho’s nuclear potato seed program, and the program’s manager, Jenny Durrin, work on mini-tuber production. Durrin was recently hired and Roth was recently made full-time, and UI has plans to expand the program’s production.   University of Idaho has hired a new director for its nuclear seed potato program and plans to build additional facilities to help her expand production. The planned investments; which include construction of a new greenhouse and laboratory; would move the university toward its long-term goal of becoming a national repository for potato germplasm. Jenny Durrin filled the director position vacated when Lorie Ewing retired last July. She conducted research in potato virus Y resistance in common Idaho cultivars while obtaining her masters degree in plant science under UI virologist Alex Karasev, and she spent two years studying pale cyst nematode at the university. UI also promoted a part-time worker, Matt Roth, to be the program’s full-time greenhouse manager. The self-sufficient nuclear seed program maintains more than 300 potato crosses; including experimental lines, public and private varieties and the Potato Variety Management Institute’s entire collection. Capital Press report

Tanzania: Are these the climate-smart potatoes?

Situated in the Northeast of the country, the district of Lushoto is part of the so called highlands of Tanzania where potatoes are traditionally grown. Due to heat and lack of resilient potato varieties, farmers would lose all the crop especially when they grow the local variety called Kidinya which is extremely susceptible to Late Blight disease. To address these issues, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), initiated a study aimed at developing more resilient potato varieties that can grow in both long and short rainy seasons and give higher yields. The study, initiated in 2013, was led by the International Potato Center (CIP) in partnership with Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Lushoto District Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Cooperatives Office (DAICO), YARA Tanzania Limited, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Lushoto farmers. More

Potatoes USA plants third seed potato trial in Myanmar

burmaPotatoes USA has just completed the planting of a third seed variety trial in the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar (also known as Burma). The purpose of this USDA-funded trial is to establish field data of US varieties for government registration in Myanmar. Peter Joyce, Potatoes USA International Seed Representative, provided technical assistance to demonstrate seed cutting techniques and planted a replicated trial during the week of January 16th, 2017. US seed potato varieties planted include: Cal White, Atlantic, Megachip, Yukon Gem, Defender, Hodag, Nicolet, Pinnacle and Granola.   Rey Santella, the Agricultural Attaché from the American Office of Agricultural affairs visited the planting site to learn about the project. For varieties to be registered, they need to show higher yield in trials than the control variety Kufri Jyoti, the predominate locally-planted variety, in three regional sites. If this US seed variety trial is successful, as expected, to outperform yields of Kufri Jyoti, registration will allow for commercial sales of U.S. seed to Myanmar. Harvest of the trial is expected in April/May. (Source: Potato Bytes, published weekly by the Northern Plains Potato Growers Assn)

Chef: Taste can play key role in potato marketing

Chef and Oregon Potato Commission public member Leif Benson serves toppings at the Washington-Oregon Potato Conference Jan. 25 in Kennewick, Wash. Benson is exploring ways to market the taste of potatoes.Quick: Describe the taste of a potato. But there’s a catch. Don’t use the word “potato” while describing it. “It’s a tricky thing,” said Leif Benson, retired Portland chef and a public member of the Oregon Potato Commission, “Potatoes have a very complex flavor. It’s not an easy thing to pin down.” Benson would like to see the industry consider the taste of a potato more. He provided an update on his efforts during the recent Washington-Oregon Potato Conference in Kennewick, Wash. The commission began offering a taste award in 2012. Every December, Benson brings in 20 chefs to conduct a sensory evaluation of 40 to 50 different potato samples. The chefs judge the potatoes for taste, texture, aroma and appearance. “Every year we do this, the chefs are completely amazed at how differently these potatoes taste, depending on variety and where they’re grown,” Benson said. All potatoes are prepared at the same time, boiled or baked depending on the best way to bring out their flavor. Capital Press