Monthly Archives: June 2016

Ayrshire early potatoes could get PGI status

Albert Bartlett’s Scotty Brand is hoping to register ‘Ayrshire Early New Potatoes’ and ‘Ayrshire Earlies’ as a PGI under the European Union’s protected food name scheme.

A consultation is currently underway on the proposals, which coincide with the start of the Scottish early potato season. The first crops were delivered to the Morrisons’ supermarket in Ayr by Drew Young of Girvan Early Growers last week.

Michael Jarvis, of Scotty Brand, said: “Ayrshire potatoes are well on the way to achieving PGI status, which will confirm the unique quality of Ayrshire new potatoes as a result of where they are grown and the skill of the farmers.

“This drive will hopefully widen the distribution of Ayrshire New Potatoes even further, putting them firmly on the map in the UK market. If granted, the PGI status will help to preserve the national and regional food heritage of Ayrshire new potatoes, as well increasing awareness of the product both locally and throughout the EU.

“Scotty Brand Ayrshire new potatoes are harvested and packed locally and can be in store as soon as two days after lifting. Ayrshire is such an ideal location to grow early potatoes and you can really taste the fresh, earthy and sweet flavour of a true Scottish potato.”

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Deleafing robot to begin trials

Priva has unveiled its new deleafing robot for tomatoes at GreenTech 2016, while at the same time three growers involved in the machine’s development will be able to begin trials.

Officially known as the Priva Kompano Deleaf-Line, it is expected that the machine, which was presented to the GreenTech ‘jury’ on 14 June will be available commercially to growers who register their interest and pre-order it (at from next summer.

According to the company the new machine is the first in a series of solutions for automating labour intensive procedures in commercial horticulture. A spokesperson for Priva said, “The Priva Kompano Deleaf-Line is the first product, worldwide, that provides growers with an economically viable alternative for manual deleafing tomato crops. Labour expenses are a particularly large part of operational costs, but can be unpredictable and for a large number of tasks, finding a motivated workforce to carry out the work is getting much harder.”

Photo Credit: Priva

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AKP launches new processing supply business

Potato grower and marketing organisation the AKP Group has launched a new division to help grow its processing potatoes business.

Christened the Pride of Anglia Growers, the new grower group will provide a full range of services from agronomy through to marketing, with appropriate storage, grading and transport facilities. The new business will be officially launched at Cereals next week but has been made possible by funding from the Rural Development Programme for England.

In a statement, AKP Group said it was structured around a model based on “strength in numbers” to mitigate the risks of the individual.

Photo Credit: AKP Group

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UK research institutes collaborate on crop rotation

AHDB’s Potatoes and Horticulture sectors have teamed up with AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds to fund four new projects looking at the overall effects of soil health throughout crop rotation.

In total £1.2 million has been awarded to the interrelated projects will form a five-year programme of research to help farmers and agronomists optimise soil and water management decisions and plan environmentally and economically beneficial rotations.

Dr Mike Storey, AHDB Head of Resource Management, said,“There has been a lot of work on the impact of soil conditions, cultivations and management on individual crop performance but we believe this new programme is unique in its scale and ambition. This research will generate new data and knowledge to answer challenges across whole rotations and provide information and tools to allow farm businesses to make rewarding and sustainable rotational decisions.”

The partnership is led by NIAB CUF, with Rothamsted Research, the James Hutton Institute and Lancaster University, but includes 14 other organisations including Aarhus University, Vegetable Consultancy Services, Cambridge University Potato Growers Research Organisation, Grimme (UK), Kettle Produce, Greenvale AP and Frederick Hiam.

Photo Caption: Dr Mike Storey

Photo Credit: AHDB

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Russia to extend produce ban through 2017

According to reports carried by Reuters and other news agencies, Russia is preparing to extend its ban on the importation of fresh produce from the European Union and other countries throughout 2017.

Russia’s Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev told reporters that the country does not plan to expand the list of banned products, but Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev has already ordered ministers to draft proposals to extend the ban to the end of 2017.

“This is great news for the domestic agriculture producers. This (the extension) allows them to plan investments in the industry, to increase the quality and competitiveness of Russian food,” Tkachev added.

The ban, which includes produce from the US, Canada, Australia and Norway was first introduced in 2014 in retaliation against sanctions imposed against Russia over its involvement in Ukraine.

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Apple variety improves in storage

According to Tesco, a new apple variety which actually improves in store is set to ‘transform the UK apple industry.’

Red Prince, which is a cross between Golden Delicious and Red Jonathan, is grown in Kent by Adrian Scripps and will marketed through Tesco stores around the country. “We use the very latest storage technology to put the apple to sleep by lowering the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the cold store to ultra-low levels,” explains Adrian Scripps managing director James Simpson. “Apples are monitored daily for any change in the skin colour, which can indicate that the levels are incorrect and are putting the apple under stress. Oxygen levels are set at an optimum level found for the apple to store longer. This is different than normal storage where a standard regime is used that is not bespoke to the fruit in store.”

Tesco’s Master of Apples John Worth, commented, “As the English season doesn’t start until August the Holy Grail for growers has been to come up with a variety that holds its freshness and taste whilst it is put into cold storage during the winter months. Our grower has gone beyond that and found a new variety that actually improves in taste whilst it is dormant.

“Red Prince has a tangy, sweet taste and is large and firm. Somewhat like a fine wine, while it sleeps, its flavour and texture are enhanced as the natural sugars and acids mature to elevate the eating experience of this premium apple.”

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