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Precision application of nitrogen in potato farming using drones

Researchers at Wageningen University & Research are testing the use of drones to measure nitrogen needs in potato crops. The “Toward precision agriculture 2.0” research program includes a group of potato farmers carrying out test runs with sensor observations by drones. The drone images show exactly where they should apply more or less nitrogen on their fields, allowing farmers to use the product more efficiently. “Dutch potato farmers apply an average of…

Greek “potato island” breaks Guinness World Record for biggest batch of fries

It took more than 1,500 kg of raw Naxos potatoes, 22 huge cauldrons, the hard work of 40 volunteers and the determination of a whole island, but in the end Naxos won the bet. “We have broken the Guinness World Record. Greece is celebrating,” announced Dimitris Kapounis, president of the island’s agricultural cooperatives union on Saturday. The electronic scale that weighed the fried potatoes read 554 kg, which is 100 kg more…

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The U.S. wants to export its potatoes to Mexico

U.S. potato producers began lobbying for Mexico to effectively open its doors to U.S. exports in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). “United States potato farmers are supporting the renegotiation of NAFTA to address this matter and related sanitary and phytosanitary issues,” according to a report by the U.S. Congress. The United States is the world’s seventh largest exporter of potatoes in the world, with sales of $…

Japan’s potato supply is recovering as production returns to normal

Japan’s potato supply is rebounding — with wholesale and retail prices falling — thanks to solid shipments from secondary producing regions starting in the spring. Potato stocks are 20 per cent higher on the year at Tokyo’s Ota market. Shipments began arriving in April from prefectures such as Shizuoka in Japan’s main island and Nagasaki in the country’s south, areas that experienced solid harvests due to favourable weather this spring. “There isn’t…

Simplot applies to bring GM potato products into New Zealand

JR Simplot has applied to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) for approval to export genetically modified potato products into Australia and New Zealand. Simplot is not asking to export GM potato tubers, because no tubers of any sort can be exported to Australia or New Zealand. The Soil & Health Association of New Zealand has opposed the application, saying a large number of genetically engineered foods are already on sale in…

Dickeya dianthicola found in Western Australia

Western Australia (WA) potato growers have been hit by a fresh disease scare, with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development warning farmers a new, aggressive bacteria had been detected. Department irrigated agriculture executive director John Ruprecht said the bacteria Dickeya dianthicola, which causes the diseases blackleg and soft rot, had been found in a commercial crop north of Perth. While the two diseases are already in Australia, it is the…

Potato area has increased in the EU – and so has demand

Total consumption potato area in north-western Europe, specifically in the North-Western European Potato Grower (NEPG) area, has been estimated at 578.821 ha, which is 4.6 per cent more than last year and 8.3 per cent more than the five-year average. All five countries (Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) increased their potato area with Belgium on top with 5.4 per cent. This is based upon the NEPG country estimations….

Brexit may present challenges to Scottish Seed Potato Exporters

Seed potato growers for the United Kingdom who have been confident that crucial trade with Egypt and other non-EU markets would not be disrupted by Brexit may be in for a shock. According to Peter Hardwick, the export chief of levy body AHDB, securing the future of exports such as potatoes and malting barley to third countries is complex and presents “real challenges.” Around 75 per cent of seed potato exports are…

Utah is home to earliest use of a wild potato in North America

The town of Escalante in southern Utah is no small potatoes when it comes to scientific discovery; a new archaeological finding within its borders may rewrite the story of tuber domestication. Researchers from the Natural History Museum of Utah and Red Butte Garden at the University of Utah have discovered potato starch residues in the crevices of a 10,900-year-old stone tool in Escalante, Utah — the earliest evidence of wild potato use…

Taiwan gov’t to control future GMO potato imports

Taiwan’s agriculture authorities say they’re prepared to implement controls to prevent the possible import of U.S. genetically modified (GMO) potatoes from affecting domestic growers.  The U.S. recently applied with the Taiwan Health and Welfare Ministry to import GMO potatoes, with the approval process expected to be completed next year at the earliest. However, concerns are being raised about the potential health impacts of GMO food products and the adverse effects of these…

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