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February 2012

February 2012

Features

Departments & Columns

  • Taking Stock: Ag Leads the Way
  • Spudman 7: Dennis A. Johnson
  • Cultivar Corner: Alpine Russet
  • The Guenthner Report
  • National Potato Council
  • United Potato Growers of America
  • United States Potato Board
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All Articles

Land of Opportunity

Land of Opportunity

As the fading glow of twilight gave way to night and vaporous layers of mist descended on the freshly harvested potato field, Dan Chin drove his truck across the field to check on the final load of Yukon Golds for that day's harvest out of the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Chin credits his family's success in the Klamath Basin to the persistence of his grandfather, Sam Wong, which resulted in eventually settling his family in the northern California town of Tulelake during the 1930s. Wong immigrated to the United States from China in 1914. In those days, a Chinese immigrant needed a sponsor to enter the United States. A man with the surname of Chin sponsored Wong, so he gave his children the same surname. Upon arriving in the United States, Wong began growing potatoes in the Stockton delta area, only to go broke…  » Read more
Precision Irrigation

Precision Irrigation

Irrigation technology has come a long way in the past decade, and equipment designers and manufacturers aren't done yet. Growers can expect to see continued advances, even to center pivot systems that already have the ability to achieve 80 to 85 percent water application efficiency when properly maintained. What kind of improvements can growers expect to see in the next few years? Look for a focus on power conservation, application uniformity, automation and precision agriculture, experts say. Precision agAbout 15 years ago, there was a push in Idaho to install global positioning systems on center pivots, said Brice Beck, a partner and general manager at Butte Irrigation in Paul, Idaho. Unfortunately, the sprinkler valves and communication software didn't work as well as many had expected.The effort fizzled. The technology has improved dramatically since then, and some manufacturers are again working on GPS packages for center…  » Read more
Cultivar Corner: Alpine Russet

Cultivar Corner: Alpine Russet

Parentage: A8343-12 x A85103-3 Developers: Tri-State Variety Development Program Plant Variety Protection: Applied for. Administered by PVMI. Strengths: High-yielding, resistance to sugar ends and other physiological disorders, longer dormancy (average of 10 days) than Russet Burbank, reduced nitrogen requirements compared to Russet Burbank, and more tolerant of water stress. Weakness: Lightly russetted skin may make it less favorable for fresh pack. Morphological Characteristics Plant: Medium to late maturity. Semi-erect vine, medium green foliage with weakly pigmented stems and petioles. Flowers are red purple and produce abundant pollen, making it a suitable male in hybridizations. Berry set in the field is moderate. Tubers: Attractive, oblong and blocky tubers with light russet skin and white flesh. Eyes are shallow and found primarily on the apical end. Agronomic Characteristics Maturity: Medium to late Tubers: Oblong, with light russet skin and white flesh. Tuber set is slightly lower than…  » Read more
Spudman 7: Dennis A. Johnson

Spudman 7: Dennis A. Johnson

Dennis A. Johnson is professor and Extension plant pathologist at Washington State University. He received a bachelor's degree in botany from Brigham Young University and a mater's degree and a doctorate in plant pathology from the University of Minnesota. Johnson was on the faculty and did research on small grain diseases at Texas A&M University before joining the Department of Plant Pathology at Washington State University in 1980. His research has been directed at developing practical management strategies for diseases of mint and potatoes. He teaches a graduate class in plant epidemiology and disease management. For his outstanding research contributions Johnson has been recognized as a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society (APS), an Honorary Life Member of the Potato Association of America, and he has received the Life Time Achievement Award from the Pacific Division of APS. He is a 1994 recipient of the…  » Read more
Ag leads the way

Ag leads the way

By the time you read this, the dust will have settled from the January road shows around the country. What I've heard in my travels and my interviews is that all sectors of the potato industry are doing well. There are exceptions to any trend, but in general the overall health of the industry is robust and strong. Let's hope that with hard work, good weather and increasing market share, domestically and internationally, we continue to enjoy a good return on investment. What I'm hearing from everyone in the agriculture is that the strongest performing sector of the U.S. economy these days is agriculture. It seems to be the one area where the U.S. continues to be the dominant global power. This is still the land of opportunity. This brings us to our cover story on Dan Chin and Wong Potatoes. It was Dan's grandfather,…  » Read more
Making Machinery

Making Machinery

Machine shops. They're in most small towns and rural communities. Whether it's on Main Street, some back-alley location, next to a two-lane highway or in the middle of a wide-open field, that's where you'll find someone pounding out an implement or fabricating a piece for a planter, a harvester or a piler. In many ways machine shops and metal fabrication shops are where many of today's major equipment manufacturers began. With an original idea, an innovation, an improvement on a piece of equipment that comes from field experience and the discovery that there's a better way to do it - whatever "it" may be. Whether it was a new design, a new model or simply tinkering on a piece of equipment that's how Spudnik, Harriston, Mayo, Crary, Lockwood and Milestone first began their entry into the potato equipment field. Just as farms have grown larger…  » Read more
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