Potato growers in Western Australia have invested heavily in a potato marketing program aimed at stopping the decline in consumption per capita of fresh potatoes. Independent research had shown that potato consumption in Western Australia had dropped from 25 kilos / capita to less than 20 kilos / capita (from 2002 – 2012).

Faced with a declining industry, the growers decided to invest in a campaign to promote fresh potatoes as great tasting, extremely versatile, convenient and packed full of vitamins and minerals. Launched in October 2013, the campaign has now been running for 18 months with clear and tangible signs of success.

Read the full press release here.

A Department of Agriculture National Landcare Innovation funded project, “Innovative Nutrient Management for the Australian Potato Industry”, is now in its second year.  Managed by Potatoes South Australia Incorporated, the peak industry body for the potato industry value chain, and  delivered by PIRSA’s consultancy business unit, Rural Solutions SA, the project will help develop a more reliable soil Phosphorus test, the Diffuse Gradient in Thin-films (DGT) test.

Read the full press release here.

Potatoes South Australia Incorporated and ViCSPA will co-host the 2014 Potato Industry Conference in Mount Gambier, South Australia 10-12th August 2014.  Themed, " Think Local, Think Global, Think Potatoes" the program will focus on the world class Australian potato industry and Australia's capability to export premium product.

Read the full press release here.

Unusual seasonal conditions over the past six months, exacerbated by the extreme heat experienced earlier this month are causing major disruptions in the national supply of our favourite vegetable. Lower yields across all of the South Australian growing regions, particularly in the Riverland and Mallee districts, are being experienced.

South Australia is the nation’s largest potato producer (380,000 tonnes annually) and produces 80% of Australia’s fresh washed potatoes. Supply is all year round.

Read the full press release here.

Australian primary producers, including those in the potato industry, will benefit under the Korea-Australia free-trade agreement (KAFTA) which was publically released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) today.

Korea is already Australia’s fifth largest export market for agricultural, fisheries, forestry and food products valued at $2.27 billion in 2012-13.Agricultural exports alone are expected to be 73 per cent higher by 2030 under this FTA.

Read the full press release here.

New on-the-ground projects will give farmers in Barker more tools and research to help them reduce farm costs, increase productivity and achieve greater returns at the farmgate.

Member for Barker, Tony Pasin MP said Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce had this week announced funding for 31 new projects across Australia as part of the Australian Government’s $21.2 million Landcare Innovation Grants.

Click here to read The Minister's full media release.

Potatoes South Australia Incorporated, the peak industry body for the potato industry value chain, has been awarded funding of $409,800 (excl GST) through the Federal Department of Agriculture’s National Landcare Innovation Grants for a two year project which will help develop a more reliable soil Phosphorus test.

“Commercial potato growing requires the application of high levels of Phosphorus fertiliser” explained Robbie Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Potatoes South Australia. “The correct application rates are critical for the financial and environmental sustainability of the industry, however there are scientifically documented challenges for the established soil testing methods to reliably predict Phosphorous requirements for the potato over a range of soil types. This can result in over application and wastage of nutrients.”

Read the full media release here.

POTATO KING: Crowning Thomas Farm Fresh General Manager Jamie Roberts 'potato king' after he successfully bid $8500 for a box of new season potatoes were Senator Sean Edwards and Little Heroes Foundation's Chair Chris McDermott.[/caption]

At an Industry Dinner on Friday night, an auction of new season baby potatoes resulted in a final bid of a very impressive $8,500. This was for 15kgs so that means these very special potatoes actually sold for $567,000 per tonne! This surpassed last year’s inaugural bid of $3,000 ($200,000/tonne) by Adelaide Produce Market’s CEO, Angelo Demasi.
Mr Tony Wetherall, Stud Stock Manager, Elders Rural Services, a corporate sponsor, transferred his highly regarded auctioneering skills from the livestock saleyards to the horticultural arena, working a room of more than 100 key industry stakeholders to produce this outstanding result. Tony is well remembered as the auctioneer responsible for the world-breaking record of $450,000 for the sale of a Merino ram at the Adelaide Ram Sales in 1990.

Read the full Media Release here.

The South Australian New Season Baby Potatoes Auction will be held at an Industry Dinner on Friday 1 November 2013.  This annual auction is organised by Potatoes South Australia Inc, the peak representative body for the potato industry value chain, and there will be a competitive bid for a box of premium baby potatoes; the first for the season.

The first auction was held last year, and $3,000 was raised for the Little Heroes Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting children living with cancer and serious illness, and their families. Again, all proceeds from this year’s auction will support the Foundation.

Robbie Davis, CEO of Potatoes South Australia Incorporated, said “South Australia is the nation’s largest potato producer with farm gate production worth $206 million and it is only fitting that we celebrate Spring’s potato harvest. Potatoes also represent the largest horticulture contribution to the state’s gross food revenue (>$440 million)”.

Click here to read the full media release

The South Australian potato industry is facing yet another hurdle in what is already a highly competitive market.

Yesterday, McCain Foods announced that it will close its potato processing plant in Penola, South Australia by December 20, 2013. The processing sector in the Limestone Coast alone is worth approximately $35 million at farm gate. Australia-wide, the processing sector is worth $150 million at farm gate.

Australia has one of the highest raw material costs in the world, which is unsustainable in the long term and continuously rising input costs, such as labour and electricity, coupled with a surplus capacity, contributed to the closure decision.

Imports of cheaper processed potatoes have risen from 10,000 tonnes in 2002 to a decade-high of 130,000 tonnes at the end of 2012.

Click here to read the full press release.