Award winning soil moisture meter said to be a ‘must-have’ for potato growers

TDR350 in potato field.Spectrum Technologies, Inc., based in Illinois in the US, brings soil measurement technology to potato farmers with the FieldScout® TDR350. The TDR350 is a highly relevant tool every potato farmer can find useful and affordable in working toward optimal soil management.  “The TDR350 provides farmers with an objective and consistent way to measure soil moisture, and to determine the best strategy for irrigation tillage, fertilizer application and planting operations,” says Mike Thurow, President & CEO of Spectrum Technologies. The TDR350 allows potato farmers to easily and rapidly take measurements in various soil environments with increased accuracy to capture soil Volumetric Water Content (VWC), Electrical Conductivity (EC), and surface temperature. The large capacity data logger can record approximately 50,000 measurements with GPS coordinates. Continue reading

Experts provide practical guidelines for fertilizer management in irrigated potato production

Image result for irrigation potatoOptimum potato growth and profitable production depend on many management factors, one of which is ensuring a sufficient supply of nutrients. When the supply of nutrients from the soil is not adequate to meet the demands for growth, fertilizer application becomes necessary. A comprehensive nutrient management program is no doubt essential for maintaining a healthy potato crop, optimizing tuber yield and quality, and minimizing undesirable impacts on the environment – in particular during irrigated crop production. High nutrient demand coupled with relative low native fertility often found in irrigated potato soils, can result in high fertilizer requirements for irrigated potato production. In an in-depth report on this topic, specialists Carl J. Rosen and Peter M. Bierman at the University of Minnesota provide several research based guidelines that will be of interest to growers and agronomists alike. View the full report 

Colorado potato beetle genome gives insight into major agricultural pest

The Colorado potato beetle is notorious for its role in starting the pesticide industry – and for its ability to resist the insecticides developed to stop it. Managing the beetle costs tens of millions of dollars every year, but this is a welcome alternative to the billions of dollars in damage it could cause if left unchecked. To better understand this tenacious pest, a team of scientists from 33 institutes and universities, led by University of Wisconsin-Madison entomologist Sean Schoville, sequenced the beetle’s , probing its genes for clues to its surprising adaptability to new environments and insecticides. The new information sheds light on how this insect jumps to new plant hosts and handles toxins, and it will help researchers explore more ways to control the beetle. “All that effort of trying to develop new insecticides is just blown out of the water by a pest like this that can just very quickly overcome it,” says Schoville. “And it’s just fascinating from an evolutionary perspective.” More

Presentation: ‘The weird and wild world of physiological disorders’

Robinson photoThis presentation by Dr Andy Robinson at North Dakota State University (NDSU) shows many physiological disorders of potatoes. These disorders can cause minor or major losses in tuber quality. They can be difficult to identify and replicate. This presentation was given at the recent 2018 Manitoba Potato Production Days meeting in Brandon, Canada. Dr Robinson is Extension Agronomist and Assistant Professor at NDSU. Dr. Robinson’s areas of responsibility are in Extension and research for potato production in North Dakota and Minnesota. View the presentation as pdf file

North American potato experts share ideas on the importance of healthy seed

Ideal growing conditions, optimum fertility, pest and disease control – all these things are crucial to ensure a high-yielding, healthy potato crop. But before the seed goes in the ground, it’s crucial growers ensure the seed they’re planting is as healthy as possible. Spud Smart magazine gathered 5 expert opinions on why it’s important potato growers plant the best seed they can get their hands on. “Seed is the cornerstone of potato production,” notes Steven Johnson, crops specialist and extension professor at the University of Maine. “The same production costs are put into a crop from poor seed as in a crop from good seed, but the yields can be drastically different.” Michel Camps, commercial potato grower in southern Alberta, has developed good relationships with his seed growers. “I usually make a point to go and visit my seed growers,” he says. “That gives me a good idea about what size profile we’re dealing with. Also, it’s a good time to check the seed to ensure there aren’t any disease issues.” More

US: Webinar – Crop Nutrition for Quality Potato Production

Header ImageJoin Agronomist Steve Petrie and Jimmy Ridgway, Crop Manager-Potatoes Yara North America, for this free webinar as they share insights from extensive crop nutrition research and trials that Spudman magazine partner YARA has conducted. They’ll discuss technology, tools and services to help you grow your best crop yet. Jimmy Ridgway has worked in the crop nutrition business in retail, wholesale and manufacturer representation since 1984. Dr. Petrie has been Director of Agronomic Services for Yara in the western US since 2013 where he continues to conduct field research & promote the sound use of Yara products to increase crop yields and grower profitability while protecting the environment. More information and registration details for this webinar on Tuesday, February 13, 2018

US: Company on cutting edge of protecting stored potatoes with ‘humigator’ technology

IHT is Small Business Development Center Success StoryIn 1985, Garry Isaacs invented a piece of equipment he called a humigator. He patented it and started a company in Blackfoot six years ago called Idaho Hydro Tech (IHT) to manufacture it. The name is a combination of fumigator and humidifier, which describes the two functions of the invention. Three years ago he retired and his son, Blake took over. Isaacs is proud of the capabilities of his father’s invention, especially its ability to remove potato pathogens from the air using only water and physics. “We can remove 350 million mold spores and four trillion bacteria per gallon of water collected,” he explained. The humigator uses a patented “venturi scrubber” to remove mold spores and bacteria from the air inside a potato storage facility without the use of physical filters or chemicals. It does this while maintaining humidity inside the storage facility. The patented process used by the humigator depends solely on the physics of water and air inside the venturi scrubber. More

NFU Potato Forum wants to improve relations in British fresh produce sector

Protecting potatoesThe potato supply chain, with its numerous stages on the journey from seed via processing to final customer, has not always been the most transparent. With relations between growers and processors occasionally strained, the sector has found it harder than most to build up trust and confidence throughout the chain. To address the problem, the NFU Potato Forum last month published a report, entitled Bridging the Gap, which looked at how relations can be improved in what is a vital area of the British fresh produce sector. The Potato Forum wrote to over 30 packers and processors to highlight concerns over collaboration and communication, following this up with face-to-face meetings. “The discussions were very constructive and we’ve been pleased with the positive way many packers and processors have engaged with the NFU on this subject,” says Potato Forum chairman Alex Godfrey. More

Canada: Upcoming pest management workshops for potato growers in Alberta province

To grow any crop successfully, you need to have a handle of what pests may be threatening that crop and how to identify them, whether it’s insects, diseases, or weeds. And potatoes are no exception. Rob Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist with Alberta Agriculture, says an upcoming workshop will help producers do just that. Watch an interview with Rob Spencer on YouTube (2:11 mins). There are two Potato Pest Management workshops—March 6 in Sherwood Park, March 8 in Lethbridge. The registration deadline is February 27. To register, call 1-800-387-6030. For further information, contact Caitlynn Reesor at 780-422-3981.

US: Processing expansion impacts demand for Washington and Oregon spuds

French FriesExpansion in the processing industry will create new dynamics for Washington and Oregon potato production, the leader of Washington’s potato commission says. “We have incredible growing demand in Asia; we still have growing demand here domestically, and we’ve got to keep up with that,” said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission. “We’ve had international customers on quotas for several years now; we just have not been able to get them enough frozen potato products overseas.” Voigt gave an update during the annual conference for farmers from both states. The commission plans to focus on school meals, Voigt said. Currently, potatoes are on the menu 2.5 times a month for breakfast and lunch. “There’s an opportunity there for real growth,” he said. The commission is also working with Potatoes USA to connect potatoes with athletes. More

Tweet: ‘Massey on this chassis…’

Seen on Twitter: “Can I get a ‘Massey on this chassis’, ‘John Deere on this rear’ or ‘Claas on this arse’? Put your logos on my running kit! I’m running on April 22nd for – they support the farmers who use your machines! .” Posted by Annabel James, @belliejames. Running the London Marathon for the Royal Agriculture Benevolent Institution (RABI). RABI provides short-term help to enable farmers to get back on their feet after a crisis, as well as long-term support, via regular payments and grants.

US company sees ‘solid interest’ in organic express-bake potato

Image result for express bake potatohFarm Fresh Direct featured its organic “Express Bake PotatOH!” at the inaugural Global Organic Produce Expo Jan. 27, which is presented by The Packer and parent company Farm Journal.. The Monte Vista, Colo.-based company actually launched the product a couple of years ago, but the market was not quite ready, said Lonnie Gillespie, director of organic sales and marketing. With its re-release in September, however, there has been solid interest. “There’s some real positive feedback on them,” Gillespie said. “Everyone wants organic and convenience, and that’s both.” The potato is pre-washed and can be cooked in its wrap in a microwave in 6-7 minutes, according to its label. Farm Fresh Direct also spoke with expo attendees about its value proposition. “Customers are able to fill trucks with organics and conventionals and specialties out of the same area, so it’s a huge cost advantage,” said vice president Dave Yeager.