Willie Kirk, Michigan State University Plant Pathologist

Market Report

Nonpareil Teton Valley Ranch Baked Potato Quicksides

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August is Harvest Time

It’s been an uncertain spring and summer in some of the major potato growing regions, but harvest is finally right around the corner – although you might not know it in Michigan.

The month of July, which typically has days in excess of 85˚ F, failed to hit that temperature once. The average temperature for July was in the mid-60s, and a few frost and freeze events damaged fruit and vegetable crops in the state. The cool temps combined with rain resulted in late blight in a few spots in the state, and many more finds throughout the Northeast.

As Michigan fresh production ramps up and Wisconsin starts digging, the yields are expected to be high, although there could be some sizing issues. Other states, including Idaho and the Columbia Basin already are digging fresh market potatoes.

If fresh prices remain strong and the weather cooperates, growers can be cautiously optimistic about the 2009 harvest.


Willie Kirk
Michigan State University Plant Pathologist
Have there been any more late blight finds in Michigan besides the three in St. Joseph County?
Yes, in Montcalm County, five fields near Stanton (potatoes); Breckenridge, Gratiot County (one tomato); Cass City (one tomato); Mendon (two potatoes); Lansing/East Lansing
(tomatoes) – and we have late blight at the Muck Farm on potatoes.

When was the last time late blight was found in Michigan outside of a research plot (like the muck farm)?
In 2007 in St. Joseph – big losses, resulting in $2 million.

What should growers be looking for/doing as they prepare for harvest?
Efforts must be made to monitor crops closely for the incidence of the disease. Scouting efforts should also be concentrated in areas of the field most likely to have high moisture, dew or relative humidities for the greatest length of time or areas missed by fungicide applicators. Low spots where soil moisture is highest and parts of the field shaded by windbreaks are examples of areas where scouting should be intensified.

Also, you can apply Ranman and Revus Top – as excellent products to contain epidemics.

Should growers be examining their storage treatments any differently this season?
Yes - they should be planning on Phostrol at bin-loading for long term crops.TEXT


Market Report

Farm real estate values in 2009 dropped slightly, but rental rates for cropland increased, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Averaged across the United States, the value of all farmland and buildings was $2,100 per acre. That’s a 3 percent decrease from 2008 and the first time land values have dropped since 1987. The highest farm real estate values were in the Northeast, which averaged $4,830. The lowest values were in the Mountain West, which averaged $922 per acre.

Singling out land used for growing crops, the value of that land decreased almost 4 percent to $2,650 per acre. Nearly every region saw a drop in value, the result of overall contractions in the economy, according to NASS. The states with the largest declines in cropland value were Delaware (-13.3 percent), Arizona (-13 percent), Nevada (-12.4 percent), New Jersey (-10.3 percent) and Georgia (-9.3 percent).

A few states still saw increases in cropland value, with the most gains seen in New Mexico (11 percent), Nebraska (6.3 percent), Arkansas (5.1 percent) and Utah (4.1 percent).

Cash rents per cropland acre increased 5 percent over 2008 to $90 per acre. The increase in cash rent can be attributed to high commodity prices, according to NASS. The Northern Plains had the largest increase in cropland rent rates, which saw an increase of 7.6 percent for an average of $71 per acre. The Pacific region (California, Oregon and Washington) paid the highest cash rent, averaging $196 per acre – with California growers paying $360 per acre for irrigated land and Washington paying $245 for irrigated land.


Nonpareil Teton Valley Ranch Baked Potato Quicksides

PICTURENonpareil Corp. introduced its new frozen potato product line at the Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Conference and Expo, July 24-26 in Monterey, Calif.

The new line from Nonpareil is marketed under the brand Teton Valley Ranch Baked Potato Quicksides. The frozen product line has five flavors: Bacon Cheddar, Broccoli Cheddar, Chipotle Cheddar, Loaded Baked Potato and Sour Cream & Chives.

The easy-to-prepare side items are microwaveable and ready in 8-10 minutes.

The retail Teton Valley Ranch line is available nationwide. Additionally, the potato chunk Quicksides can be purchased in foodservice packs that come pre-seasoned and are ready to eat after microwaving.