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April 2005

April 2005
  • Calling in Sick
  • Late Blight Prevailing weather for the Midwest and Eastern states during the summer of 2004 can be summed up in two words; cool and wet. It just so happens that the late blight pathogen we've all learned to recognize in the past few years loves this sort of weather regime.
  • Potato Leadership If you ask Dan Moss why he's a potato grower, you're apt to hear a one-word answer: family. Not only was Moss raised by a farmer, but he's raised his family on a potato farm.
  • Precision Agriculture In a continued effort to bring Spudman readers information they can use on their farms, Spudman presents questions and answers about GPS systems and precision agriculture. Those answering the questions are D.J. Mulla, interim director of the Precision Agriculture Center at the University of Minnesota, and Jeff Adams, with CSI Wireless.
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Calling in Sick

This winter was a sick one for me. Between battles with strep throat, sinus infections and downright icky colds, it seems I haven’t gone one week without feeling crummy. And it’s been a sick one for others in the office, too. Almost everyone’s been out with one thing or another – and if it’s not they who are sick, it’s the kids. I don’t know why this winter’s been so sick. It could be Michigan’s random weather patterns of warm, spring-like days in the middle of January followed by weeks of freezing rain and snow. It could be my aversion to germs has not allowed me to “make friends with them” (as my mother says). Or, it could just be that my defenses are down because I’m not getting as many delicious fresh fruits and vegetables as I do in the spring, summer and fall.…  » Read more

Disease Thrives on Cool, Wet Weather in Midwest, East

Prevailing weather for the Midwest and Eastern states during the summer of 2004 can be summed up in two words – cool and wet. It just so happens that the late blight pathogen we’ve all learned to recognize in the past few years loves this sort of weather regime. Once you passed east of Chicago last summer, most states experienced some level of late blight that in many cases resembled the scenarios described in the mid-1990s. Midwestern states west of Chicago seemed to have escaped late blight and the elevated costs often associated with control efforts. For those states confronting late blight in the face of inclement weather, fungicides played a major role in management last year. In areas where there was some cooperation from the weather (i.e. drier and warmer conditions for even short periods), control efforts were more successful than in areas where…  » Read more

NPC President Motivated by Family

If you ask Dan Moss why he’s a potato grower, you’re apt to hear a one-word answer: family. Not only was Moss raised by a farmer, but he’s raised his family on a potato farm. “It’s great for families,” he said. “It’s a good lifestyle we have – and there’s nothing wrong with being your own boss, either.” Moss dated his desire to be a farmer to when he was growing up. And he dated his potato farming history to when he graduated from high school in 1970. Moss and his wife, Jann, moved to Idaho in 1980 where they purchased 160 acres. Over the years, the farm grew to the 7,000 acres it is today. Moss Farms’ potatoes mainly go for french fries, with a few acres grown for fresh. In addition to his 2,000 acres of potatoes, Moss grows sugar beets and wheat. The farm,…  » Read more

Experts Answer Questions about GPS for Potato Growers

What is GPS? D.J. Mulla: GPS stands for Global Positioning System. This is a network consisting of 24 satellites that broadcast radio signals to earth. Under the right conditions, these signals can be picked up by GPS receivers. The receivers process the signals from multiple satellites to calculate position of the receiver. Signals must be received from at least four satellites to calculate position. Accuracy using a single GPS receiver often varies between 30 and 60 feet. That's not good enough for agricultural operations such as herbicide spraying, fertilizing and tillage. Improvements in accuracy can be obtained by using two receivers simultaneously. One is established at a fixed known location and never moves. Readings at this base station are used to correct the location using "differential" processing (hence differential GPS or DGPS), giving an accuracy of from 3 to 15 feet in most cases. Additional improvements in accuracy…  » Read more
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