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Browsing articles by Bill Orr

Unwashed raw fresh potatoes

How to save a crop you didn’t plan to still be storing

Phew. After incredible market upheaval from March through much of May, processing potatoes are finally moving again as fry processors restart their lines. COVID-19 has resulted in a very rough go for potato processors and farmers alike, but I’m really pleased to see some positive market trends slowly returning. That said, the two plus month backlog means farmers need to prepare for much longer-term potato storage than normal. Even under the best-case…

A pile of potatoes

Welcome — Your Greener, More Effective Fogging Future Starts Now

Custom applicators are increasingly turning to a greener, more sustainable application unit for CIPC, 1,4 DMN and other in-storage potato treatments — fresh air applicators. Certain processing companies are more than applauding the change. At least one, for example, recently started requiring the chipper potatoes it buys in certain provinces to be treated with fresh air machines rather than traditional units. While the decision seems like a bold move today, it may…

box of potatoes

Tips to Prep your Seed Potatoes for Fresh Sale

You have to give our fresh potato value chain well-earned credit — when the coronavirus pandemic forced a seismic shift in potato demand fundamentals, every link in the fresh potato value chain stepped up to get product to market fast. We’ve seen a slow-down in demand from its initial mid-March peak, but fresh sales continue strongly. A limited number of Russet growers who originally planned to send their potatoes for processing have…

French fries

Chipper and Fry Potato Producers Feeling COVID-19 Pain

I suppose it could be worse — we who work in agriculture are blessed to be weathering the coronavirus pandemic from the relative comfort and space of farms rather than from tiny apartments in urban high-rises. Still, there’s no getting around the fact everyone is hurting from the direct and/or indirect impacts of the outbreak, and it’s clear the costs are only starting to be realized. Processed potato producers, in particular, are…

A pile of potatoes

1,4DMN: the key to stabilized dormancy and uniform emergence in seed potatoes

Due to the heat/cold/wet stress many potatoes endured during last fall’s harvest, a lot of stored potatoes are likely to be pushing sprouts sooner than usual this year. While processing and table stock growers have several sprout suppressing options, seed potato growers have exactly one product available to enhance dormancy. Luckily, it’s an effective one. 1,4 Seed is the only registered dormancy enhancer available for use in seed potatoes. It is formulated…

A pile of potatoes

Sprouting: an unnecessary hit to your wallet

I’ve heard growers say, literally countless times, “They’re just little sprouts. They aren’t a big deal.” While it’s true that processors will often accept sprouts up to 1.5 inches, sprouting is actually a big – and unnecessary – deal. Whereas a dormant potato tuber is nature’s ideal moisture storage mechanism, each sprout leaks moisture. The math is simple: less moisture = less weight = less money. As such, any grower who wants…

Fully grown potatoes poking out of the dirt

How Will Overlooking the Storage Season Cost You?

There are two seasons in potato production: the growing season and the storage season. Each need ongoing attention and management; each can make or break your final returns. I see growing season as the forward line on a hockey team, putting points on the scoreboard, and storage season as the goalie, protecting from loss. Each is critical to the final outcome of the crop production game. This year, storage season is going…

box of potatoes

Are Your Potatoes Old Before their Time?

Potatoes are nature’s perfect energy storage capsules: ideally designed to withstand a period of dormancy and then burst into life as the next growing season approaches. For thousands of years, humans have benefitted from tubers’ unique dormancy adaptation. In the last 50 years, we’ve figured out how to benefit even more by expanding on nature’s design: now we produce tubers by the thousands of hundredweight; then manage them in storage for months…

Sprout Inhibiting Options Do Exist

It’s no secret why potato sprout inhibiting CIPC is so popular: it’s cheap and it works. That said, the EU’s recent banning of CIPC has caused many North American producers to proactively ask about alternatives. Here’s what’s available to tackle sprouting today. Scientists and companies continue to tinker with ethylene. The work isn’t new: we’ve seen industry trying to make sprout control via ethylene commercially viable for 20-plus years. The main problem…

Will the EU’s CIPC Ban Affect You?

The recently announced ban of sprout inhibitor chlorpropham (commonly known as CIPC) in the European Union is causing major waves in the global potato industry. Announced in mid-June, the ban is effective on product registrations as of Jan. 8, 2020. Grace on residue application will only be given until Oct. 8, 2020 (a specific maximum residue limit has yet to be announced). Since the EU’s ban was first announced, I’ve been asked…

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