The air was redolent with the wafting, aromatic scent of grapes ripening on the vine. The two-lane, blacktop roads were littered with the detritus of fallen hops from the pick-up trucks overloaded with the harvested plants. Rows of apple trees being harvested under the clear autumn skies
Here in the Yakima Valley in the midst of 2009 harvest during the middle of September, while harvest was in full swing for many farmers, Steve and Jody Bouchey were already finished with their potato harvest.
Elsewhere in Washington potato farmers were just beginning to bring in their crops, but on this crisp September morning Jody was out disking a field for next year's planting.
That's the way the Boucheys operate, just a little bit different from the crowd.
Located near Wapato, Wash., on the northeastern edge of the Yakima Indian Reservation, the Boucheys focus on speciality varieties. Colored potatoes, reds,
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New strains of late blight are creating problems for Florida potato growers, leading scientists to find out why the disease is changing before it becomes an epidemic.
Late blight isnt new to Florida, it has been affecting potato crops since theyve been grown in the state, and remains a constant threat, impacting crops almost yearly.
Its been around a long, long time, as long as theres been agriculture in Florida, theres been late blight in the state, said Tim Schubert, administrator for the plant pathology division of Plant Industries, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.
Its been here long enough that wed consider it an endemic disease.
Climate is part of the problem with the diseases prevalence. Potatoes are a winter crop for the state, and the cooler, humid winters are perfect growing conditions for the disease. Coupled with a lack of heavy frosts, and it leads to
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It has been a day and a half since I left Orlando and the Potato Expo and I'm still suffering from an informational overload hangover. From the trade show to the seminars, meeting new contacts and touching base with old friends, so much t do so little time to do it in.
As I sit here writing this column on a sunny Friday morning, with the thermometer registering 3 F, the one message that I came away with from Orlando is the need for potato growers to be innovative and aggressively market their own produce.
In this time of declining consumption and increasing yields per acre it's going to be the grower who recognizes what the consumer wants and adjusts accordingly that is going to survive.
Bouchey Potatoes, out of Wapato, Wash., our cover story, is a prime example of growers who are meeting consumers desires. Jody and
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It's that time of the year again time to make decisions on what varieties to plan. Perhaps you're looking at new varieties but you're not comfortable making the switch.
Mark Pavek, Washington State University researcher, has a couple of
suggestions for anyone growing new varieties.
"Pay attention at these conferences," he said, "and see if their are new tips from the agronomists from the prospective states. See if there are any tidbits of information that might help produce better yields or better profits."
As an example, Pavek cited research he and a graduate student conducted that disputes the notion that growers can cut back on the amount of nitrogen they use to maximize profits for Premier Russets and Alturas when grown in Washingtons Columbia Basin.
"There is no doubt that these two varieties are more efficient with nitrogen than Russet Burbank, Pavek said.
You could cut back
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