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June 2010

June 2010

Features:

Columns:

  • Taking Stock
  • Cultivar Corner
  • The Spudman 7
  • United States Potato Board
  • United Potato Growers of America
  • National Potato Council
  • As the Crow Flies
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All Articles

Reading Reactions

By Bill Schaefer, Managing Editor Every action results in a reaction, and the potato industry, or should I say the business of potatoes, is a great example of this phenomenon.Often referred to a Newton's third law of motion, there are many examples of how this law affects potato growers, such as when you're getting ready to plant you can count on it raining, or snowing if you're planting in eastern Idaho.On a more serious note, potato growers are watching from the sidelines as the political forces of action and reaction currently play out between the United States and Mexico.For over a year now, the U.S. process industry has been hit with a 20 percent tariff brought about in part because of failure to resolve a trucking dispute between the two countries.Everyone is watching, waiting and hoping that the Obama administration will stay true to the…  » Read more
Looking to the Future

Looking to the Future

USPB chairwoman seeks grower input on new long-range plan By Dianna Troyer, Spudman correspondent As 2010-11 chair of the U.S. Potato Board, Cheryl Koompin envisions her goals for the coming year as clearly as she can see miles and miles of her family's fields sprawling along the rolling bluffs overlooking the Snake River south of — American Falls, Idaho. Cheryl, whose one-year term began in March, will help growers give input on a new five-year, long-range plan for 2012 to 2016, while continuing to work on achieving their current long-range goal of increasing demand for U.S. potatoes. "Helping the USPB make sound decisions on the best return for the grower's investment is my job," Cheryl said. Relaxing at her kitchen table, she outlined her domestic goals for the coming year. "We have to continue to try to increase demand in several ways. We will encourage…  » Read more
Preparing for Harvest

Preparing for Harvest

Preparation for vine kill begins now By Bill Schaefer, Managing Editor   Potato plant canopies have begun to spread, the plants are looking healthy and now's the time to begin making plans to kill all the vines, stems and leaves in anticipation of the harvest. There are two methods of vine kill – mechanical and chemical. The advantages of a chemical application are that it provides for a greater than 90 percent leaf and stem kill within one to two weeks of application, giving time for the tuber skin to set, to avoid bruising during harvest and giving the grower a timetable for when he can begin the harvest, said Pamela Hutchinson, a specialist in cropping systems weed science at the University of Idaho's Aberdeen Research and Extension Center. Hutchinson said it takes from one to three weeks for tuber skin set, depending on moisture and…  » Read more
Water Management

Water Management

Look at on-farm conservation, irrigation practices to best use water supplies By Bill Schaefer, Managing Editor   There’s a finite water supply these days and growers are finding the supply chain becoming ever tighter, but they haven’t reached the depths of despair yet. Sufficient water is available for most growers this year, except in the Klamath basin, where allocation is so tight that some growers are relocating their operations. The difficulty facing growers is how to best conserve and husband this most valuable natural resource. Steve Howser, manager of the Aberdeen-Springfield Canal Co. (ASCC) in Aberdeen, Idaho, has some tips on how to use your water most efficiently. According to Howser, ASCC diverts 325,000 to 350,000 acre-feet annually from the Snake River, and of that amount, 180,000 acres leaches in to the aquifer. According to Howser, this year’s snowpack and runoff forecasts are very similar…  » Read more
Shipping Shortage?

Shipping Shortage?

River closure could impact truck traffic By Everett Brazil III, Contributing Writer Barge traffic along the Columbia-Snake River System is scheduled for a temporary closure at the end of 2010 for repair of locks that will maintain the long-term reliability of the river system, leaving short-term impacts on cargo transportation throughout the Northwest. “The Portland, Ore. and Walla Walla, Wash. districts of the Army Corps of Engineers are implementing a long-term plan for major maintenance of the lock system, and the stimulus package provided enough funds for three projects to be tackled during lock closure,” said Kristin Meira, government relations director for the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, Portland. “This is good news for the long-term reliability of the system, said Meira.” The navigation locks at The Dalles, John Day and Lower Monumental dams will close December 10, 2010 for major repairs, closing the dams for…  » Read more
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