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Grants released for potato research

Among the Specialty Crop Block Grants recently released by the USDA were these related to potato research in the following states:

Colorado: 1) Partner with the Colorado Certified Potato Growers to increase sales of Colorado specialty potatoes by promoting them at the Produce Marketing Association trade show in 2014. 2) Partner with the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee to provide consumers with potato varieties with improved flavor profiles by identifying chemical and genetic traits associated with a palatable flavor profile and present results to growers through publications and meetings.

Idaho: 1) Partner with the Idaho Potato Commission in cooperation with the University of Idaho to minimize annual loses by the Idaho potato industry by characterizing the seasonal phenology of different Lso-carrying psyllid biotypes and developing and implementing tools for biotyping psyllids in Idaho potatoes. 2) Partner with the University of Idaho to minimize crop losses and increase yield by surveying all seed potato lots that undergo winter testing in Idaho for prevalence of Potato virus Y (PVY) strains with subsequent elimination of lots containing necrotic PVY from the seed potato system.

Maine: 1) Partner with the Maine Potato Board, in collaboration with the University of Maine to maximize the quality and yield of the Maine potato crop by continuing the field-monitoring program and the potato integrated pest management program that includes a combination of field surveys and the use of a decision support system that helps growers interpret rapidly changing factors, including weather, crop growth, inoculum loads, fungicide residual and spore mortality.

Michigan: 1) Partner with the Michigan Potato Industry Commission to improve potato production by investigating how to improve soil health through soil data collection and sharing results with potato growers on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Minnesota: 1) Partner with the University of Minnesota to reduce the incidence and severity of scab, verticillium wilt, and other soilborne diseases of potato by evaluating microbial inoculants and soil carbon amendments for their efficacy alone and in combination. Results of the study will be shared with growers through field days, publications, and grower conference presentations.

Montana: 1) Partner with Montana State University to increase plantings of Montana certified seed potatoes in home gardens by creating an online garden seed directory and developing a wholesale distribution and delivery network using Montana county extension offices. A second objective of the project is to adopt multiplex PCR techniques for identification of potato diseases in one assay, decreasing reagent and labor costs.

Nebraska: 1) Partner with the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Panhandle Research and Extension Center to lower the cost of seed potatoes while producing the greatest amount of starch by developing the technology and determining the feasibility of growing potatoes under semi-arid conditions using sustainable, organic farming practices in western Nebraska and presenting the results through grower meetings.

New York: 1) Partner with Cornell University to increase growers’ access to new seed potatoes by increasing potato seed production through the installation of a new hydroponics system.

Oregon: 1) Partner with the Oregon Potato Commission in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, the Washington State Potato Commission, an onion representative and representatives from the Oregon Dairy Products Commission (Dairy) to increase specialty crop sales to key export markets by conducting a trade development mission to Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong through specialty product technical seminars with product preparation, handling and proper storage presentations along with buyer meetings and addressing market access issues. The Dairy representatives will cover all of their expenses outside of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Wisconsin: 1) Partner with the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board in collaboration with the Midwest Food Processors Association and the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association to reduce water use by evaluating the effect of deficit irrigation on yield, quality, and pest pressures of potato, sweet corn, and snap bean and sharing the results with producers in Central Wisconsin. 2) Partner with the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board to optimize pest and disease control in vegetables with a reduced reliance on pesticides and environmental impact and enhance yield and economic return on investment by developing and evaluating pest and disease forecasting models, building a weather database to drive such forecasting models, and developing and disseminating related extension materials to producers. 3) Partner with the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board to increase the number of growers using clean potato seed by identifying new potato varieties with production and market potential in Wisconsin, screening potential varieties for improved culinary characteristics and resistance to key potato diseases, producing virus free seed, evaluating nitrogen fertilizer and irrigation needs, and predicting the value of new varieties for growers and packing sheds. 4) Partner with the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board to increase potato growers adoption of integrated pest management practices for key insect pests in potato with a focus on the lower Colorado potato beetle (CPB) pest populations by assessing CPB insensitivity to neonicotinoid insecticides to limit current and future potential for groundwater contamination, determining the relationship of insecticide use and in-plant insecticide use on neonicotinoid leaching, and investigating the spatial scale of insecticide contamination.

Originally posted Friday, Sep. 27, 2013

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