July/August 2014

July/August 2014



  • Industry News
  • Cultivar Corner
  • Calendar & Classifieds
  • Advertiser Index
  • Spudman 7


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All Articles

Southern Man

Cotton is king in the south. That’s a lesson that John Halverson quickly learned when he went down to Arbyrd, Missouri to set up a new potato operation for Black Gold Farms. He also learned that it takes time to gain the trust of area merchants and get a seat at the local coffee table. David Fairbourn’s profile of Halverson shows that a little patience and perseverance is part of the formula for a success in the Bootheel country of southeastern Missouri. We have three great articles on storage management. Melanie Epps addresses the importance of a good environment for spuds in storage. Dave Wilkins writes about postharvest treatments to protect tubers in storage. Everett Brazil III covers recent innovation in sprout control. Genetically modified potatoes are coming. Simplot’s first generation Innate potatoes are scheduled to go into commercial production next year. Innate’s generation two…  » Read more
Show-Me Spuds

Show-Me Spuds

How did John Halverson, a fourth generation potato grower from North Dakota and a member of Black Gold Farms, become the lone potato grower in the Cotton Belt of Missouri’s Bootheel country? Like so many adventures, it began with a challenge and an opportunity taken. “We were looking for an area to bridge the gap in our chip-stock production between our Pearsall, Texas, and Charleston, Missouri, locations,” Halverson said. “We tried farming in Louisiana and Mississippi, but the areas we tried were too wet for potatoes. There was a land owner near Hornersville, Missouri, that had been contacting some of our customers telling them he had ideal land for growing potatoes. We checked it out and thought it may work out to help bridge that gap, as it was about two weeks earlier than our Charleston, Missouri, location.” “In 1999, we tried growing two half-circles—130…  » Read more
Storage Quality

Storage Quality

When it comes to potato storage there are two things every farmer needs to know. First, no crop, no matter how good it was when harvested, is going to improve in storage. Quality is either maintained or lost, but never improved. Second, potatoes are living organisms that will continue living while in storage. Like all living things, they will interact with the environment around them.             To maintain quality in storage, producers need both quality storage facilities and quality potatoes to put into storage. Storage maintenance is key throughout the year. Not only that, but how the crop is handled will change from year to year. In storage, the factors that affect performance include the environment, agronomy, varietal traits, disease and harvest and management practices, said Todd Forbush, postharvest potato storage expert at Techmark, in Lansing, Michigan. The most important factor is variety. “Varietal traits…  » Read more

Truck weight reform results in safer highways

In our nation’s capital, an effort has been revived to reform the rules for shipping cargo on federal highways. At issue is a federal interstate law that caps the truck weight maximum at 80,000 pounds for trucks with five axles. The National Potato Council (NPC) and others in the agriculture industry are urging our allies in Congress to increase the weight limits to 97,000 pounds for trucks equipped with six axles, which would increase the efficiency of shipping product to processors and consumers. If this issue sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Although the issue of truck weight reform has been studied to death, opponents of reform successfully urged Congress to once again “study” the issue instead of finally fixing the problem during the debate over the 2012 highway reauthorization bill. Now, after two years of unnecessary delay, the congressionally-mandated study is expected to be…  » Read more