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Getting Seeding Depth Right: A Farmer’s Perspective

Making time for potato industry conferences and events is a great way to learn from others, gain ideas, and improve your business whether you’re a grower, processor, or a technology supplier like me. At the end of January, I ran into Terrence Bueckert of Beaver Creek Farms at Manitoba Potato Production Days in Brandon. They grow 9,000 acres of crops including 1,000 acres of potatoes near MacGregor in central Manitoba. Because of…

Marketing Potatoes to Today’s Consumers

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the only way to potato farming success is to produce more. While yield is absolutely a priority (and new varieties with higher yield potential and ever-better agronomics are constantly being introduced), building a healthy potato industry into the future depends on marketing higher value product. How? As an entire value chain, we — seed companies and growers, primary producers, processors and retailers —…

Top Tips for Optimal Planting

With the 2019 planting season just around the corner, I’d like to share some of my top planting tips to help you maximize your yields and profits. The success of your potato crop all starts with how well it is planted. Before you fill your planter and head to the field, it’s important to check for worn parts. In addition, make sure opener plows are built up or replaced — this is…

The Customer is Always Right

Over the past few months, we’ve received an increasing number of requests for new and evermore detailed information from our customers. Suddenly, customers are asking for additional pathogen tests (increasingly for diseases not found in our growing areas), highly specific production details, new traceability verifications, and more. We understand: our customers are being pressured by their customers, so they need to push the questions down the value chain to us, their seed…

Let’s Talk Yield Monitoring

I work daily with an awfully smart bunch of farmers and ag suppliers. It takes a team effort to unite technology, data, and good old-fashioned farmer know-how to get the most from a potato field. One of these guys is Western Tractor Company’s precision ag specialist in Burdett, Alta., Joe Bydevaate. I’m always impressed with his insight on yield monitoring, so I thought I’d help him share some here: JB — “Whether…

What Planter Class is Right for Your Operation?

There are a number of reasons potato growers want to invest in a new planter. Some want to take advantage of the new technologies available today, while others are looking for ways to increase their profit margins; some producers want increased service, lower maintenance costs and easier access to parts. Whatever the reason, there is much to consider when it’s time for a new planter. Basically, there are three planter types on…

Changing Storage Styles? Look for Wins

You’ve decided it’s time to update or build new potato storage. You’ve spent time considering the questions I posed in my last column on where to begin the process. Now it’s time to get down to brass tacks. There are four main factors you must consider when deciding upon a potato storage facility, these include: style of building insulation ventilation and humidification options: auxiliary heat and/or refrigeration Basically, there are three building…

Modern-Day Air Systems: Cushioning the Blow

Did you know skydiving and commercial potato production have something in common? Before they release their chutes, skydivers usually reach terminal velocity, which is the constant speed those falling bodies travel when air resistance prevents further acceleration. Air systems found in potato equipment are based on the same principle. The air inside the system is adjusted to meet the terminal velocity of the potato. Once the air is adjusted then that potato…

Where to Start When It’s Time To Expand My Spud Storage

It happens every harvest – you look at your potato storage capacity and wonder, “Do I have enough – is it time to expand?” When you decide it is time to increase or update your storage facilities, your first question will most likely be, “Where do I start?” Here are some beginning questions to help organize your thoughts as you consider expanding your storage capacity. Where is my potato production headed? How…

Navigating the Challenges of New Trucking Regulations: We’re All in this Together

New regulations governing U.S. truckers’ driving hours are hitting agriculture hard. Not only are prices for trucking way up (we’ve seen a spike of 20 per cent or more to some locations), lack of adequate trucking capacity means it sometimes seems nearly impossible to find an available truck. Producers have been calling us since the regulations came into effect looking for suggestions on how to manage the changes. We always want to…

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