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Duane Gorman, Gorman Controls

Sugar: Good for Tuber Survival, Not So Good for French Fries!

A tuber’s complicated sugar storage mechanism is designed to maximize survival through dormancy and support successful growth the following spring. To translate that mechanism into something that best suits potato production priorities, producers must first understand how sugars develop and change through tuber growth and dormancy. Potato plants produce sucrose via photosynthesis. This sucrose is transported to tubers where it is converted into fructose and glucose and eventually into starch. The process…

Matt Alexander, Volm Companies

OEE: Time Well Spent

In our Insiders article two months ago, we talked equipment maintenance: why it matters, how to stay on top of it, and what to prioritize. I mentioned OEE, or Overall Equipment Effectiveness, as an important metric every company should use to analyze their equipment assets’ performance. Because I’ve received quite a few questions about OEE since that article was posted online, let’s delve a little deeper into why OEE is time well…

Bill Menkveld, Greentronics

Low Investment, High Return Makes Yield Mapping Easy Math

With among the highest input costs and some of the greatest potential returns of any field crop, potatoes offer the biggest bang for one’s yield mapping and precision management buck. Yield maps are not just an intellectual exercise in raw data; they actually map dollars and cents. A yield map breaks a field into visible areas of higher and lower productivity. Looking closely at each area, a grower can start to figure…

Growing Relationships

In today’s ultra-fast, highly digitalized world, it’s sometimes easy to overlook how much real, human to human relationship still matters. In life, in business and in agriculture, taking time to communicate openly, develop trust and build rapport is vital to success. Whether you are a potato grower, a seed producer, a retailer, a consumer, or – like us – a variety marketing company, you are a key player in the potato production…

Bill Menkveld, Greentronics

Variable Rate Potato Production = More $ in Your Pocket

Yield- and soil-map based variable rate (VR) seeding and fertilizer management is gaining popularity in cereal, corn and oilseed crops. So far, it hasn’t earned as much traction in potato fields, both because many planters are not set up for VR tech adoption and because few potato growers monitor yield at harvest, a necessary step in VR input management. But, major changes are just around the corner. Today’s yield mapping and planting…

Duane Gorman, Gorman Controls

Tuber Dormancy: One of Nature’s More Ingenious Survival Designs

Potato tubers’ physiological and biochemical ability to rest dormant through the cold, unfavourable growing conditions of winter is a unique and highly effective biological advantage. Surviving conditions that would relegate other high-moisture crops to mush doesn’t only benefit tubers, however:  dormancy offers growers and consumers the practical advantage that tubers can be stored for many months with or without sprout suppression. Dormancy is the physiological state during which tubers are unable to…

Matt Alexander, Volm Companies

Communication and Planning = Major Time and Cost Savings During Capital Upgrades

Capital upgrades are a fact of potato packing life. Be it because existing equipment is aging, a critical piece breaks down, business outgrows packing capacity, or one’s product or packaging changes, every packing business eventually needs to overhaul equipment and/or build new packing lines. With great communication and proactive planning, an equipment upgrade can happen efficiently, cost effectively, and with little stress. Communicate inadequately or scrimp on planning, however, and expect problems,…

Make Time for Field Evaluation Days

Bringing a new potato variety to market is an incredibly challenging combination of science, marketing and rigorous testing. While only a fraction of new varieties ever make it to commercial production, the few that do reach grocery store shelves are vital to the viability and future of the potato industry. Each successful new variety is an important step forward for breeders, growers, commercial buyers and, ultimately, consumers. As such, all potato industry…

Matt Alexander, Volm Companies

Maintenance Matters

Second only to product quality, a packer’s primary priority should be maximizing their packing line’s up-time. Buying quality packaging equipment is just the first step in ensuring one’s packing line stays up and running. Since a packing line that fails costs time, money and resources, proactive packers stay on top of routine packing line maintenance. Servicing and maintaining one’s packing line often falls low in packers’ long to-do lists, which means most…

Success with Organics Depends on Starting with the Right Seed

The price premium on organic produce of all kinds, combined with growing interest in sustainable farming, is tempting more and more agricultural producers to look towards organics. Though initially a little slower to take off than some organic crops, commercial organic potato production is now growing steadily. Here are some points to consider before embarking on organic farming. Since not all conventional potato varieties are suitable for organic production, it is wise…

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