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March 2006

March 2006
  • A Chance To Improve
  • Born To Grow Spuds Farming isn't just what Florida potato grower Alan Jones does. He was born to it and it's in his blood.
  • Bringing Potatoes Back To The Table It's no secret that supply of potatoes in the United States exceeds demand. The gap between the two may slowly be narrowing as growers make an effort to plant fewer acres, but it's still there.
  • Colorado Potato Beetle Resistance There's no need for growers to panic, but it's true. Colorado potato beetles are becoming resistant, in some production areas, to the leading insecticide that has been knocking them dead for 11 years.
  • Seed Problems When faced with seed performance problems in the early season, there is usually little that the affected grower can do.
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A Chance To Improve

The last couple of months, I’ve written about the importance of adding value and giving consumers something special. And I could probably fill several more columns with some of the same ideas. But I think it’s time to show you what I’ve been talking about – and been hearing about. Spudman has a role to fill in the industry as a showcase for new ideas. It’s our job to show you what’s so great – not just talk about it. This month, I had a chance to talk in-depth with USPB’s chairman Ray Meiggs and USPB President Tim O’Connor about their December trip to the United Kingdom. They gave some wonderful insight into the industry in the UK, and I’m eager to share it with you – check out page 12 for the whole story. On this trip they visited stores and talked with retailers…  » Read more

Florida Grower Has Potato Business In His Blood

Farming isn’t just what Florida potato grower Alan Jones does. He was born to it and it’s in his blood. At age 38, like many other farmers, he’s growing not only potatoes but a number of other crops as well. Unlike a lot of other growers, however, he’s unfazed by all the growth in Florida and sees it as beneficial to his business. After all, he said, the more people who live in the area, the more need there will be for the food he and other growers produce. Jones’ father and brother were farmers, so he grew up in the business. “They started farming up in north Florida, in the Hastings area, back in the late 1950s,” Jones said. “They had a very successful operation there, growing greens, cabbage, potatoes and sweet corn.” Jones’ older brother and a cousin got involved in the business, and in…  » Read more

Learning From The UK

It’s no secret that supply of potatoes in the United States exceeds demand. The gap between the two may slowly be narrowing as growers make an effort to plant fewer acres, but it’s still there. It won’t close unless demand increases. To do that, the industry needs to innovate, said Ray Meiggs, chairman of the U.S. Potato Board (USPB). “By cutting back in acreage, you’re still not addressing the challenge of how we are more relevant to the consumer at the dinner table,” he said. “By reducing supply, we’re just addressing the reduced demand, not increasing consumption. The cutback in acreage is a Band-Aid to keep the industry solvent, but it’s not a solution in the long term.” Decreased demand has taken potatoes off the dinner tables of U.S. consumers, who are showing the industry that products need to be quick, convenient and healthful. Potatoes already are…  » Read more

Imidacloprid Resistance Appearing After 11 Years

There’s no need for growers to panic, but it’s true. Colorado potato beetles are becoming resistant, in some production areas, to the leading insecticide that has been knocking them dead for 11 years. There are several reasons why this does not mean growers will return to the bad old days of the early 1990s. At that time, beetles became so resistant to the existing insecticides that growers had to turn to physical methods of control. Chemistry failed, and growers were literally killing the beetles by flaming them to death, trapping them in plastic-lined trenches and letting them fry in the sun or spraying them with abrasive substances that wrecked their skin. Then along came imidacloprid (Admire), the insecticide from Bayer CropScience. It was a miracle product, and beetles died in droves. In the years that followed, the furrow-applied application method was augmented by seed treatments…  » Read more

Planning, Patience Imperative During Planting Season

When faced with seed performance problems in the early season, there is usually little that the affected grower can do. After the seed has been planted and a problem develops, often the only thing the experts can tell you is the color of the train that ran over you. In other words, seed performance issues are best handled with good planning and by avoiding situations that are likely to lead to problems. Naturally, the purchase of certified seed with all of the special attention and frequent inspections that it has received is an excellent way to reduce risk and achieve your target yields, but locating and buying quality seed is only the beginning. There are a number of other factors that can have a significant influence on early season seed performance. What are some of these factors? We often hear that seed physiological age has an…  » Read more
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