Industry Spotlight:
Chris Voigt

Industry Spotlight:
Phil Nolte

Market Report
John Deere


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To everything there is a season

This month we have a video interview with Chris Voigt, the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission. If you haven't noticed, Voigt has been in the news for the past two months for his 20-potatoes a day diet. The man took it upon himself to prove the nutritional value of potatoes by eating only potatoes for 60 days.

The days become longer, the nights become shorter, and we begin to make plans to meet at the Potato Expo in Las Vegas or the many other state and regional conferences during January and February. So with that in mind, we also have a video interview with Phil Nolte. Phil's been busy organizing the Idaho Potato Conference and he gives us a brief preview of what you'll see in Pocatello.

Have a safe and happy holidays, Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'll be at the Potato Expo in Las Vegas as well as the Idaho Conference in Pocatello and the Washington/Oregon conference in Kennewick. Stop by our booth in Las Vegas and Pocatello or send me an e-mail if you have something you want to discuss. These conferences give me an opportunity to get feedback and input from our readers. If you have something to say about the magazine or eSpudman please let me know.


Chris Voigt Interview

Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission (WSPC), spoke with Spudman Magazine about finishing his 60-day diet consisting of 20 potatoes a day. He talks the global publicity that resulted from his diet, resulting in an appearance on the Today Show and other national programs, and the primary reason he undertook the diet – to publicize the nutritional value of potatoes after being removed from the special supplemental nutrition program, Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

Voigt also discusses how he and WSPC plan on using the publicity his diet generated to continue to publicize the nutritional value of the potato and their efforts to have WIC include the potato on their list of appropriate vegetables.

Phil Nolte Interview

Phil Nolte, University of Idaho professor specializing in seed potato pathology, discusses the upcoming 2011 Idaho Potato Conference (Jan. 19-20) in the Pond Student Union at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho.


Market Report

In 2009, potato growers throughout the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest were hit with a widespread outbreak of late blight. A big box retailer selling tomato plants was suspected of being the source of the inoculum, but once it started to appear it spread rapidly.

"We were expecting a bit of an onslaught in 2010," said Willie Kirk, plant pathologist with Michigan State University.

The genotype that hit tomatoes and potatoes in 2009 was largely the new US-22 genotype, which is Ridomil sensitive, Kirk said. US-22 is a little less aggressive on potatoes – it prefers tomatoes, he said – but it was more likely to survive because it was less susceptible to rot.

"That means US-22 is a more dangerous pathogen," Kirk said.

In Michigan, the foliar disease risk in 2010 was the highest since MSU started recording. The highest risk area was in Van Buren County, and the lowest was in the Thumb area. This season, all tablestock varieties were susceptible to late blight, even the more resistant varieties. Kirk said Ridomil Bravo worked well in infected fields with one application, and the Michigan late blight forcasting website was accurate and allowed growers to be proactive about their management.

Late blight was first detected in Kentucky in late May – although this find is circumstantial because it was found on tomatoes labeled from a greenhouse in Michigan. On June 21, late blight was found on potatoes in St. Joseph, Mich., and on tomatoes in Mecosta County, Mich., on Aug. 9. By late August, late blight had been found throughout the state, including on potatoes and tomatoes in the seed-growing area of Michigan. Late blight is of particular concern because it tends to overwinter in tubers in the field. During winter 2010, soil temperatures in Michigan did not hit the freezing point for volunteers to die. Michigan has had volunteers every year since MSU started recording in 1995, and this season the first volunteers were found in southwest Michigan in April, even earlier than usual, Kirk said.

Seed growers responded by intensifying their crop protection programs, and many left tubers in the field for 21 days, which allows infected tubers to rot. Kirk recommends that growers looking for seed in 2011 purchase only seed that has been inspected by a state seed association. He also suggests using a seed treatment targeted for late blight – one containing mancozeb. Lastly, Kirk reminds growers to be community-minded, and if you suspect late blight, let Extension know immediately.

Product Highlight: John Deere

Building on last year's successful launch of the 8R Series tractor, John Deere has boosted the power in this year's lineup and made all 8R and 8RT tractors capable of accepting "smart tractor" technology.

This year's 8R family consists of six new models with wheels and three with tracks, each sporting 10 to 15 horsepower boosts over last year's models.

All come with JDLink Ultimate Service and Service Advisor Remote – complimentary for a year. The service allows the tractor to send location, operation and performance data over via the web and cell phone.

The 2011 8R Series is powered with the PowerTech PSX 9.0L 6-cylinder diesel engine running dual turbo-chargers, exhaust gas recirculation and an exhaust filter that cleans itself. The result is Tier IVA certification without the use of diesel exhaust fluids.