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Browsing articles by Bill Orr

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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…

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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