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Examining potatoes’ past could improve spuds of the future

The old adage of looking to the past to understand the future certainly applies to improving potatoes. Examining the ancestors of the modern, North American cultivated potato has revealed a set of common genes and important genetic pathways that have helped spuds adapt over thousands of years. The study appears in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Robin Buell, Michigan State University Foundation Professor of Plant Biology…

New Zealand potato prices almost double in a decade

The price of potatoes in New Zealand has almost doubled in the last 10 years, according to Statistics New Zealand. In 2006, potatoes cost $1.10 a kilo – that had risen to $2.10 in September this year. Potato prices hit a 10-year high of $2.25 a kilo in January this year. Unseasonable weather created planting and harvesting problems this month, leading to a shortage of potatoes used for crisps. Potatoes New Zealand…

10,000 tonnes of ‘rotten potatoes’ banned entry into Jordanian market

The Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture said a shipment at Aqaba Port carrying 10,000 tonnes of allegedly worm-infested potatoes will not be allowed into the country. The potatoes appeared to be infested with the potato cyst nematode, which is a soil worm that lives on the roots of some crops, according to the President of the Jordan Farmers Union, Mahmoud Oran, who added the shipment arrived to Jordan from Lebanon, but its original…

P.E.I. Potatoes Donated to Hurricane Maria victims

The Government of Prince Edward Island and the P.E.I. potato industry are teaming up to provide a tractor trailer load of fresh potatoes to those affected by a hurricane in the United States. A truck carrying over 42,000 pounds of fresh potatoes left P.E.I. yesterday en route to help feed those in need in Puerto Rico as a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. The load will be received at…

What’s in a Name?

Even though Shakespeare has very eloquently expressed that names are no substitute for substance (as Juliet tells Romeo: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”), names are nevertheless important. In many cultures, great emphasis is placed on the naming of newborn children — in some instances, first names may provide an indication of the cultural, political and social circumstances surrounding the…

Developing vodka from waste potato peel

You can fry them, chuck them in the compost and soon you could be drinking them. In an effort to combat food waste, Potatoes South Australia has teamed up with the University of Adelaide and Adelaide Hills Distillery to make vodka from potato skins. Robbie Davis, chief executive officer of Potatoes SA, said at a national level, food loss in the agricultural industry — pre farm gate — was $3 billion annually….

Top of the Hill

Glossy, Laperla, Montreal, Spartan Chipper and unnamed F13026 were standout varieties at two Ontario potato field day events in August. Over 100 new varieties were examined in the plots at the Elora Research Station at the University of Guelph, and a similar number were on display at the Ontario Potato Board’s Ontario Potato Field Day at HJV Equipment in Alliston. Growers were invited to chat with companies showcasing products that will interest…

Market News

Despite a slow start for potato planting in some parts of the country, the average yield in Canada in 2017 is expected to come close to that of last year’s record-breaking crop, according to figures provided by the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). Based on late August estimates from producers, the Canadian average yield for this year’s crop is projected to be 304 hundredweight (cwt) per acre, which is just under…

Webcast: Seed Potato Certification

The Plant Management Network (PMN) has released a new presentation to help potato consultants, growers and other practitioners in Canada and the U.S. learn about the basics of seed potato certification. Seed certification provides assurance to growers that seed-borne potato diseases are kept under acceptable levels, and helps the industry consistently provide high quality products to consumers. The webcast, developed by Robert D. Davidson, professor and extension specialist at Colorado State University,…

Potato Mutants: Useless Freaks or Precious Gems?

Mutations are naturally occurring phenomena in all living organisms. Most mutations are harmful in the organisms in which they occur. In seed-propagated crops, such harmful mutations – “freaks” – are often lost in the cycle of sexual reproduction and selection. Since the potato is commercially propagated by vegetative means, most mutations (also known as “sports”) that occur in the potato will be maintained. This can either be a bane or a blessing…

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