Sep 25, 2009
News You Missed This Week

Here’s a recap of the news stories that are of interest to the potato industry for the week of Sept. 21-25.

With harvest underway, some potato growing regions are dealing with adverse weather conditions and lower crop prices. Maine growers have had little rain since harvest, but growers are moving forward with a good crop,
according to a Spudman news item. And Idaho growers were chastised for overshipping and driving down prices by United of Idaho’s Jerry Wright at the Idaho Grower Shippers Meeting this month – story by Idaho Editor William Schaefer here.

Growers also are concerned about EPA’s metam sodium Reregistration Eligibility Decision. The final draft is due in January, and although the changes for 2010 aren’t drastic, the requirements for 2011 could negatively impact growers that have to use metam sodium. Idaho Editor William Schaefer’s piece from his recent trip to Washington and Oregon is here.

Farmers have gambled this season by cutting potash applications in the face of high prices. It’s worked for growers but hurt fertilizer companies, according to an article in Canada’s Financial Post. And in a related article on, researchers are looking at the role of nitrogen fixation in crop growth to deliver the next Green Revolution.

In other research news, Syngenta is working on crop software that will predict how plants react to environmental conditions, which could lead to better pesticide applications, according to an article in Science Daily. The University of Wisconsin, Madison, is working with the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers’ Association and the World Wildlife Fund to develop research-based growing and environmental practices that will improve the health and sustainability of the state’s fresh potato crop, the university said in a press release this week. And finally, the Associated Press had a story that ran in many newspapers across the country about McDonald’s search for the next potato for its fries – it’s been more than a decade since a new variety was added to the mix.

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