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March 2011

March 2011

Features

Departments and Columns

  • Taking Stock: Prognosis: Better
  • Spudman 7: Chris Voigt
  • Cultivar Corner: Nicolet
  • United Potato Growers of America
  • The Guenthner Report
  • United States Potato Board
  • National Potato Council
  • As the Crow Flies: Time Traveler
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All Articles

Farming Heritage

Farming Heritage

You could say that farming in the Red River Valley is in Justin Dagen's genes, and you wouldn't be far off the mark. If it's not in his DNA, then it's definitely in his blood. It also helps to explain his life-long dedication to the potato industry as he assumes the presidency of the National Potato Council for 2011. For more than 125 years, Dagens have been farming in the Red River Valley of Kittson County in Karlstad, Minn. There, in the most northwest corner of Minnesota abutting North Dakota to the west and the Canadian province of Manitoba to the north, Dagens have been turning over the Minnesota flatlands for five generations that 11,500 years ago was the bed of glacial Lake Agassiz, the largest glacial lake in North America. The soil in the Red River Valley is ideal for agriculture. It is composed…  » Read more
Know Your Soil

Know Your Soil

One of the most important factors in any fertilizer management program is application timing, which can vary widely among growing regions, soil textures and potato varieties. But there are fairly standard practices across the industry and knowing the timing and methods of these applications can streamline any fertilizer management program. Soil nutrient content is always important for efficient fertilizer applications, and the first step in finding the nutrient content is through soil tests, which can be sent to soil labs at land grant universities and private institutions. Soil scientists can perform an in-depth analysis of the nutrient content. Those institutions also have fertilizer guidelines for every major crop in the state, pulled from years of extensive research. Those guidelines, coupled with the soil assays, will help you in your applications. But knowing variability across the field can also guide applications. "It is important to look…  » Read more
Improving Seed Performance

Improving Seed Performance

To cut, or not to cut, that is the question facing many growers as they make their planting preparations. How you prepare and treat your seed stock at planting time are factors that play crucial role in the overall health of your crop and your eventual success at harvest time. Unlike beans, corn or wheat in which you plant a true, hard seed, potato seed is really just a vegetative clone. True seed comes with a seed coat, a protective barrier to all kinds of pathogens that cannot penetrate the seed coat to infect the nutrients or the embryo. Seed potato tubers, on the other hand are generations removed from their origin as true seed. Phil Nolte, University of Idaho Extension professor and seed potato specialist, knows that potato growers face a lot of tough decisions when it comes time to plant and he predicates…  » Read more
Prognosis: Better

Prognosis: Better

With January's month of conferences behind us I can report that I heard relatively good news from most growers for the 2010 season. Not everyone had a good year. Some process growers' stock was undersize, or some growers were hit by psyllid. I spoke with seed growers whose crops were hit by an early frost or heavy rains prevented them from bringing in their crops. But, overall, the economic health of the industry is stronger at this time than a year ago and the outlook for the coming year has the potential to be a good one. One reason for the positive outlook is rising world grain prices. The general consensus is that potato acreage should/could remain stable while farmers put additional acreage into grain production. Stay tuned, it's all speculation at this point in time. When speaking of positive outlooks, Justin Dagen is someone…  » Read more
Spudman 7: Chris Voigt

Spudman 7: Chris Voigt

Chris Voigt is the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission (WSPC) and director of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs. Chris was raised in a rural part of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. He served as the State FFA President in Oregon and graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in agriculture economics. In 1997, he started work at the U.S. Potato Board and was responsible for industry communications. He left the board in 2002 to work as the executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, focusing on developing a new marketing campaign and started their involvement in governmental affairs. As executive director of the WSPC his primary responsibility is legislative and regulatory affairs, but lately he has focused on spreading the word about potato nutrition. He and his wife, Stephanie, have two children, Christopher, age 9, and Madeline, age 6. What are…  » Read more

Time Traveler

There once was a small town girl, who grew up in a large, loving, Catholic family with seven siblings. She was taught good morals, good manners, to be kind and compassionate and the value of hard work. After a wonderful childhood, she married young and had three beautiful daughters. A not-so-wonderful marriage of 17 years led to divorce, she moved (with her daughters) back into the open arms of her parents to feel safe and get back on her feet. She worked a dead end job in a factory to have health insurance and waitressed a couple nights a week trying to get caught up. In her late 30's and feeling sorry for herself, she was persuaded to attend her 20th class reunion where she was reacquainted with the man of her dreams - her high school crush. He had dated one of her best…  » Read more
Nicolet

Nicolet

General InformationParentage: Snowden x S440Developers: University of Wisconsin - MadisonPlant Variety Protection: PendingIncentives for production: Maintains chip quality at least a month longer than Snowden from 45°F storage, due to a later increase in sugars. Yield potential is high, similar to Snowden. Better tuber shape and uniformity than Snowden. Morphological CharacteristicsPlant: Medium late, large and vigorous semi-erect vines with white flowers. Plants produce four to six stems per hill.Tubers: Round oval shape, slightly flattened, smoother than Snowden, with shallower eyes. Tuber flesh is white. Uniform tuber size. May initiate tubers prior to Snowden. Good internal quality. Lower total glycolakaloid content compared to Snowden. Agronomic CharacteristicsVine Maturity: Full-season cultivar with earlier maturity than Snowden.Yield Potential: High, similar to Snowden. Percent US No. 1 tubers also similar to Snowden.Specific Gravity: High; consistently greater than 1.080 and usually intermediate between Snowden and Atlantic.Utilization: Chipping cultivar to replace Snowden…  » Read more
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