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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…

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…

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…

Bill Menkveld, Greentronics

Technology and Innovation Starting to Solve Seeding Depth Challenges

Planting potatoes at a consistent depth is an important factor in achieving uniform crop emergence. Uniform emergence leads to improved crop input efficacy throughout the season and more consistent crop maturity at harvest. But, achieving consistent depth is often easier said than done: soil variation, areas of compaction, different moisture levels, and changing planter weight all make uniform seed placement challenging. Current planter technologies do a reasonable job in dealing with this…

Bill Menkveld, Greentronics

From Field-to-Storage-to-Field

Tracking seed potatoes is the way of the future. Advanced harvest and storage mapping technology now allows accurate-to-the-truckload tracking of potatoes from where they were grown in a field to exactly where they are stored in a bin. The technology’s on-farm potential is huge: detailed, automated information capture supports more informed agronomic decision making, better storage management, enhanced bio-security, and more. But, tracking field-to-storage is just the beginning. Tracking product from seed…

Potatoes are Healthy……Again

Dr. Mehmet Oz, made famous by Oprah and now himself a popular talk-show host, dedicated much of his March 23, 2017 episode to promoting potatoes and educating viewers about their many uses (see it here: https://t.co/cQ1eWazTZw). The potato industry cheered. After all, our industry has not always seen eye to eye with Dr. Oz because he, like many celebrity influencers, has typically overlooked potatoes’ many health benefits in favour of riding the…

Bill Menkveld, Greentronics

Field and Storage Mapping on the Vander Zaag Farm

Ontario potato farmers Kate and Peter Vander Zaag were among the first to adopt potato yield monitoring and, more recently, field-to-storage load tracking and mapping. Tech-savvy producers who prioritize quality, the Vander Zaags believe capturing quality information is key to growing better potatoes. I sat down with Kate to hear her perspective. Bill: What made you first consider yield monitoring? Kate: When we started seeing yield maps for grain, we thought immediately…

Best Investment? Clean Seed

The dollars and cents of farm business success aren’t always as simple as they might first appear. While minimizing costs can seem like a smart business decision, it is exactly the opposite if that up-front savings ends up costing crop quality and/or yield. The purchase of seed is a perfect example: while it can be tempting to buy the least costly seed potatoes available, investing in high quality, tested, disease-free seed will…

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