When it comes to making potato crisps Tayto is number one in Britain; that’s why when it came to choosing potato sorters they went with Key Technology’s Optyx digital sorters. Headquartered out of Walla Walla, Key Technology designs, manufactures and markets process automations systems for food and other industries. Key Technology’s John Kadinger tells us why Tayto chose the Optyx digital sorters over others.
Plant biologist Aymeric Goyer worked with postdoctoral student Amber Vinchesi and entomologist Silvia Rondon on a project where they hope to use vitamins to help control diseases in potatoes. Just like vitamins provide people with a natural immune system boost, researchers are testing whether they could benefit potatoes grown in the Hermiston region the same way. For the past year, specialists at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center have been researching whether vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, can help potato plants fight off the two largest threats to the crop: Potato Virus Y and Zebra Chip.
Labor disruptions at west coast ports are damaging Idaho's agricultural exporters. The Idaho Department of Agriculture said negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association are creating numerous problems including congestion, slowdowns, and terminal closures. The department said the dispute is hurting Idaho agriculture directly, resulting in lack of available equipment, increased costs, and lost sales. The Idaho potato industry has suffered cancelled orders because customers cannot get product delivered. Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir said slowdowns at the ports are affecting previously signed contracts and price negotiations with new and current clients.
Asda’s direct sourcing arm IPL is in exclusive negotiations to buy the potato assets of veg supplier Fenmarc, The Grocer can reveal. IPL expects the acquisition to be concluded by mid-January. As part of the deal, it will buy Fenmarc’s sites at Westry in Cambridgeshire and Southery in Norfolk as well as all plant, equipment and related consumer, supplier and staff contracts. Separately, IPL is in negotiations to buy the potato packing business of QV Foods in early 2016. IPL declined to elaborate on the terms of the deals but said the staggered completion dates for the two acquisitions would “ensure a smooth transition.”
Genetically modified potatoes are gaining momentum in the USA, with new varieties more resistant to bruising and late blight. US company Simplot has recently received approval for generation-one innate potatoes. It is predicted to have the potential to save 400m pounds of potato waste each year in the USA, while also reducing acrylamide, a substance found in a number of products and associated with cancer, by up to 75%. In addition, generation two is currently in the process of coming to market, offering traits that provide resistance to late blight disease and lowered reducing sugars for long storage. Haven Baker, chief potato scientist for Simplot, said the new varieties provide an exciting step forward for potato producers across the world, showing the potential available to farmers.
The 2014 potato growing season presented a number of challenges for Wisconsin’s farmers from start to finish this year. But like any other farming organization, Seidl Farms, Inc., of Deerbrook, WI, worked with Mother Nature to overcome those challenges, helping them add yet another year of certified seed potato production to their long history. Frank Seidl, owner and founder of Seidl Farms, began planting potatoes when he was 21; he farmed a total of 20 acres in Bryant. The year was 1949 when the farm incorporated dairy as well as about 15 acres of potatoes for the fresh market.
Kettle Chips’ own Willy Wonka is Chris Barnard. If you’ve ever salivated over a serving of Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar crisps, you’ve him to thank. The Kettle Chips head chef since 1989, he’s responsible for conjuring the refined flavours that sets Kettle Chips apart from the pack. “It’s been a whirlwind for 25 years,” says Barnard as I meet him at Kettle Chips’ UK HQ. “Not only have we changed the base product in terms of potato crisps with hand cooking (we were first), we think we’re the best too. We’ve got a premium feel to us now; we’re seen as ‘the chip of choice’. Seasoning, the cooking process, I’m very passionate about it all.”
McCain Foods, producers of frozen french fries and appetizers, is offering a wide range of innovative and profitable menu solutions for every segment of food service business. The company is expanding its distribution network as well as improving availability of its products. Currently, McCain products are available in around 10,000 outlets. The company is now targeting to expand its retail network to about 50,000 outlets in the next five years.
The ongoing GMO study on potatoes at Teagasc Oak Park is focussed on addressing many of the persistent questions that exist in regard to dealing with the evolving tillage challenge associated with late blight attack, according to research scientist Dr Ewen Mullins. “As expected the GM cultivar continues to demonstrate resistance against late blight attack but the important question is how durable is this resistance and what is the impact of managing this resistance on levels of soil biodiversity.
McDonald's has been forced to ration its french fries in Japan due to a severe shortage of imported U.S. potatoes. Medium and large fry orders won't be available until at least early next year, forcing Japanese customers to cope with tiny bags of fries until then. "We will temporarily change our product lineup...until a stable supply of potatoes is in sight," the company said.
Agriculture equipment companies are slowly realising the importance of involving farmers in gaining mindshare before thinking of acquiring marketshare. More so when they happen to be global players. Lemken India Agro Equipment, the wholly-owned subsidiary of German manufacturer Lemken GmbH, has decided that seeking feedback before bringing equipment into new markets such as India will help them bring products relevant to the market. Arvind Kumar, MD & CEO of the company, says the challenge has to be to change the mindset of Indian farmers. “We have realised that merely promoting farm mechanisation is not enough. Crop specific solutions are needed. To this end, a recent pilot in Punjab bringing together 5 German companies along with the German government to improve potato productivity in Punjab has been a huge success.”
As potato growers face some of their most challenging times, Allan Wilkinson, HSBC’s head of agriculture, shares some top tips to help keep potatoes profitable in 2015.
A federal jury has found northeast North Dakota potato farming brothers Aaron and Derek Johnson guilty of all felony counts of crop insurance fraud brought against them. Jury members unanimously found the Johnsons guilty of intentionally destroying some of their crops in order to get unfair gains in crop insurance and federal disaster payments. Both Johnson brothers were convicted of conspiracy, false statements to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency, which oversees crop insurance, and to law enforcement on different occasions.
De prijzen voor bio-aardappelen in Duitsland zijn vast: rond 36 €/qt. Producenten zouden dit graag zien toenemen naar 40,00 €/qt. maar dat is (nog) niet het geval, terwijl het aanbod uit Nederland en Oostenrijk toeneemt. De beschikbare volumes zijn uiteindelijk niet groter dan vorig jaar vanwege een grote hoeveelheid tarra. De laatste keer dat de consumenten goedkope aardappelen kon kopen, was in november 2011 : gemiddeld 0,98 €/kg voor verpakkingen van 1 en 2,5 kg.
Dutch company Pulsemaster has introduced a new generation PEF (pulsed electric field) technology that significantly improves potato processing. With this cost efficient application, the final breakthrough of PEF processing in the food industry is approaching. The Pulsemaster PEF technology induces poration of potato cells, leading to cell disintegration. This makes the pulsed electric field systems an excellent alternative for preheaters in the potato industry. The PEF treatment improves cut quality and significantly reduces French fry breakage. Water and energy consumption in potato processing are reduced; blanching, drying and prebaking times are shortened. Furthermore, the leaching of sugars is improved. The treatment can also reduce frying oil absorption and fat content up to 50%.
The goal of the potato producers over the next four years is to increase consumption, which is currently at 61 kilos per year per person, by 60 percent to 100 kilos. Jose Manuel Garcia, director of the Colombian Federation of Potato Producers (Fedepapa), asked the government to assume a permanent commitment to the industry and not only to make a campaign to encourage Colombians to eat more potatoes. The leader said that potato consumption in Peru had increased from 38 kilos to 85 kilos thanks to the government’s support and that other sectors in Colombia, such as producers of pork, chicken, egg and milk, had obtained this support and had invested millions of pesos.
Romanians are among the biggest consumers of potatoes in Europe, with about 94 kg per year, of which more than 20 kg are large, poor quality potatoes, which are imported at very low prices, according to the Romanian Potato Federation. “Potatoes with a diameter greater than 8 inches are sold for nothing abroad, with EUR 35-40 per tonne. They are not toxic, nor spoilt, but have fewer culinary qualities. They are less tasty because they have an increased amount of water,” said George Botoman, president of the Federation, cited by local Mediafax.
The loss of agrochemical actives due to EU changes to pesticide laws could cost the UK farming industry more than £905m, according to an Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) report. The loss of linuron would cost the potato sector £52m (6% of farmgate value) as a result of reduction in weed control. And the loss of mancozeb would knock a further £3m off due to increased costs. Meanwhile, the potential loss of metribuzin would inflict a further loss of £56m on the UK potato industry, the report states.
To assist novice food processors and established companies, Heat and Control’s new TechnicalCenter in Mexico provides equipment demonstrations, process development assistance and training programs. CENTEC is equipped with a variety of equipment for snack and prepared food processing, including fryers, ovens, de-oiling centrifuges, extruders, sheeters, checkweighers, metal detectors, seasoning applicators and packaging equipment. For potato products, tests are primarily available for potato chip, stick and snack processing. French fry testing is conducted for in-house development of new fryer technology.
Das spanische Kartoffel-Forum, das aus Vertretern der Vereinigungen von Supermärkten und Unternehmen der Produktion, Kooperativen und Verpackern besteht, traf sich am Donnerstag, dem 11. Dezember, in dem Hauptsitz von FEPEX, in Madrid, und einigte sich über eine SWOT-Analyse des Sektors in Spanien, sowohl bezüglich der Produktion als auch dem Rest der Glieder der Wertkette als eine Basis für die Planung gemeinsamer Aktivitäten, einschließlich der Konsumförderung.
Potato growers on Prince Edward Island elected a new leader for their industry board, selecting Alex Docherty to serve as chairman of the PEI Potato Board. Docherty, who owns and operates Skyeview Farms Ltd. in Elmwood with his family, succeeds Gary Linkletter as chairman. Linkletter served four years in the board’s leadership position, according to a news release.




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