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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…

LOCKWOOD 600 Series Harvester

Are you making these harvest mistakes? Why your blade matters

No matter how high-tech potato harvesters and windrowers become, they’ll always depend on one seemingly low-tech component — the digging blade. But, don’t make the mistake of brushing off the blade as unimportant. In fact, your blade really does make the machine. There are six blade types available, each designed for specific harvest conditions. In sandy, light soils, opt for a semi-point blade, which can include an optional plastic rock guard fitted…

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…

Yellow potato

How to Find your Cleaning Table Match

Wouldn’t potato harvesting be a whole lot simpler if all your fields, all the time, had identical harvest conditions? The reality, however, is soil conditions vary across a farm, weather changes from day to day (and sometimes minute to minute), and different potato varieties need different handling. Do you have the right cleaning tables for the spuds coming out of your ground? Producers growing in lighter soils with few rocks and clods…

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…

Potato plants growing in a field

Air-Cup seeders offer front-of-season savings and end-of-season premiums

Considering a new or new-to-you potato planter? Here’s the pros and cons for the most common styles available today: Pick Planters The oldest form of potato planting technology is pick-based planting. Pick planters operate by stabbing potato seed and then dropping it into the trench. While spacing is based off the size of the pick wheel, at times, it may not be as accurate as newer styles of planters. The trick with…

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…

606 S-Series Air Cup

Successful Farmers Know “An Ounce of Prevention…”

Functional, well-maintained equipment can make the difference between farming success and enormously costly misses, breakdowns and losses. In the more than 35 years I’ve spent in the equipment business, I’ve found most farmers do a decent job of prepping their planters, harvesters and other equipment for winter storage, and of greasing, tuning and maintaining their machines prior to use the next season. However, don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. I’ve…

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