September 2020 Badger Common'Tater

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$22/year | $2/copy | Volume 72 No No. 09 | SEPTEMBER 2020




Mark Haynes Senior Agronomist Bula-Gieringer Farms HEALTHY GROWN FITS INTO National Sustainability Programs LANGLADE AG RESEARCH Station Holds Virtual Field Day ULTIMATE GARDEN GUIDE: Growing Spuds in Containers RETHINK THE POTATO For Sustainable Use

Mark Haynes checks the development of Russet Rangers grown on Bula-Gieringer Farms with Mike Johnson (whose arms and hands are shown) from McCain Foods.

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On the Cover: Mid-June 2020 saw Mark Haynes, senior agronomist for Bula-Gieringer Farms, based in Coloma, Wisconsin, traveling to the operation’s Illinois location to check the crop development of Russet Rangers. With Mark was Mike Johnson of McCain Foods, shown handling the tubers. They look good enough to eat! Image courtesy of Mark Haynes

8 BADGER COMMON’TATER INTERVIEW: Dry preplant fertilizer is bedded up on land worked by Bula-Gieringer Farms in Keithsburg, Illinois. This issue’s interviewee, Mark Haynes, senior agronomist for the farming operation, says, “Using six-row Spudnik planters, we plant into these beds. In Wisconsin, we do not bed.” One of the largest potato and vegetable operations in Wisconsin, Bula-Gieringer Farms was founded, in 1980, when Mark Bula formed a partnership with Mark Gieringer.

DEPARTMENTS: ALI’S KITCHEN.................... 61 AUXILIARY NEWS............... 55 BADGER BEAT.................... 52


20th Annual Putt-Tato Open raises funds for research, scholarships and industry


With few events held, the Spudmobile pulls duty as a billboard at businesses

56 RETHINK THE POTATO FOR SUSTAINABLE USE Food waste can be abated through efficient grading

FEATURE ARTICLES: 16 PROVEN HEALTHY GROWN program integrates into national sustainability efforts

MARK YOUR CALENDAR...... 6 NEW PRODUCTS................ 40 NOW NEWS....................... 47 NPC NEWS......................... 60 PEOPLE.............................. 36 PLANTING IDEAS.................. 6

20 RAISING GARDEN POTATOES in containers saves space and is not labor intensive


42 LANGLADE AGRICULTURAL Research Station holds an info-packed virtual field day

WPIB FOCUS...................... 41


BC�T September


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WPVGA Board of Directors: President: Rod Gumz Vice President: Bill Guenthner Secretary: Wes Meddaugh Treasurer: Mike Carter Directors: John Bustamante, Dan Kakes, Charlie Mattek & Alex Okray Wisconsin Potato Industry Board: President: Heidi Alsum-Randall Vice President: Richard Okray Secretary: Bill Wysocki Treasurer: Keith Wolter Directors: John Bobek, Andy Diercks, Cliff Gagas, John T. Schroeder & Tom Wild WPVGA Associate Division Board of Directors: President: Kenton Mehlberg Vice President: Paul Cieslewicz

Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association Board of Directors: President: Jeff Fassbender Vice President: J.D. Schroeder Secretary/Treasurer: Jeff Suchon Directors: Roy Gallenberg & Matt Mattek

WPVGA Staff Executive Director: Tamas Houlihan Managing Editor: Joe Kertzman Director of Promotions & Consumer Education: Dana Rady Financial Officer: Karen Rasmussen Executive Assistant: Julie Braun Program Assistant: Jane Guillen Spudmobile Education & Outreach Administrator: Doug Foemmel Spudmobile Education and Outreach Coordinator: Dale Bowe

Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary Board of Directors: President: Kathy Bartsch Vice President: Devin Zarda Secretary/Treasurer: Datonn Hanke Directors: Jody Baginski, Brittany Bula, Deniell Bula & Marie Reid

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Secretary: Julie Cartwright Treasurer: Rich Wilcox Directors: Chris Brooks, Kristi Kulas, Sally Suprise & Justin Yach

Mission Statement of the WPVGA: To advance the interests of WPVGA members through education, information, environmentally sound research, promotion, governmental action and involvement. Mission Statement of the WPVGA Associate Division: To work in partnership with the WPVGA as product and service providers to promote mutual industry viability by integrating technology and information resources. Badger Common’Tater is published monthly at 700 Fifth Avenue, Antigo, Wisconsin 54409

Subscription rates: $2/copy, $22/year; $40/2 years. Foreign subscription rates: $35/year; $55/2 years. Telephone: (715) 623-7683 Mailing address: P.O. Box 327, Antigo, Wisconsin 54409 Or, subscribe free online: ADVERTISING: To advertise your service or product in this magazine, call (715) 630-6213, or email: Joe Kertzman: The editor welcomes manuscripts and pictures but accepts no responsibility for such material while in our hands. BC�T September





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Planting Ideas It has become readily apparent

that a large part of marketing potatoes is touting agricultural sustainability. In this “Storage and Marketing”-themed issue of the Badger Common’Tater, editorial contributors provide several stories about sustainability practices in the industry, whether related to growing, packaging, storing or selling spuds. Deana Knuteson, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Horticulture and director of Wisconsin agricultural sustainability programs, asks the question, “How does Healthy Grown integrate into national sustainability programs?” In an article within this issue, Knuteson discusses how Healthy Grown not only enhances environmental farming, but also puts Wisconsin growers in a position to capture the expanding consumer demand for sustainable options in the marketplace. The image above shows a controlled burn on an Alsum Farms, Inc. prairie restoration site. In another feature within, Thomas Molnar, vice president charged with global sales for TOMRA Food Sorting, goes as far as saying it is time to rethink the potato for sustainable use. Molnar explains that food waste can be combatted through efficient grading and repurposing of the potato. He says it is time to change how we handle our resources amidst a rapidly growing population, an increased demand for produce and the threat of climate change, all potential risks to the food supply chain. The “Now News” column of this September issue includes an announcement by RPE, Inc. about its new partnership with How2Recylce, a standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to consumers. RPE will roll out the new How2Recyle labels on Tasteful Selections packaging over the course of the next several months. As Tim Huffcutt, vice president of sales and marketing operations says, “This new partnership with How2Recycle aligns with RPE’s and Tasteful Selections’ sustainability initiatives to help reduce and eliminate waste.” Also in “Now News” is information about federal payments available to growers for planting prairie strips. Landowners who install conservation strips are eligible for payments, according to Sand County Foundation’s Agricultural Conservation team, which touts the benefits of the practice. The team says that strips of native plants offer rich biodiversity, and their deep roots reduce erosion, keeping nutrients on the fields and out of streams, ultimately benefiting the environment and crop production. Please email me with your thoughts and questions. If you wish to be notified when our free online magazine is available monthly, here is the subscriber link:

Joe Kertzman

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NAME: Mark Haynes TITLE: Senior agronomist COMPANY: Bula-Gieringer Farms, LLC LOCATION: Coloma, Wisconsin HOMETOWN: Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin TIME IN PRESENT POSITION: First year PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: Black Gold Farms (2019), Mortenson Bros. Farms (2010-2018), Pest Pros (1990-2010), Pavelski Enterprises (1987-1990), Tri-Ag Services (1986) and Centrol (1981-1985) SCHOOLING: Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy from University of Wisconsin-Madison FAMILY: Wife of 26 years, Deb, and children, Daren (37) and Danelle (35) HOBBY: Gardening 8

BC�T September


MARK HAYNES, senior agronomist, Bula-Gieringer Farms

By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater

In 1976, as a senior at Appleton West High School, Mark Haynes saw a video presentation given by a group of University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison students from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“I thought agronomy looked very interesting,” says Haynes, senior agronomist with Bula-Gieringer Farms in Coloma, Wisconsin. “Biology was my favorite subject, and I knew people had to eat food!” “I also knew from that day forward I wanted to be an agronomist. My first introduction into potato production was a summer internship my junior year at TH Agrichemicals, Plainfield, Wisconsin,” Haynes relates. “The good old Temik [Aldicarb carbamate insecticide] days—no beetles, no early dying, just tons of worms.” After graduating from UW-Madison, Haynes’ first job was at Centrol in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, as an independent crop consultant for the

Above: Mark Haynes, senior agronomist for Bula-Gieringer Farms, LLC, in Coloma, Wisconsin, takes a selfie before heading off to work during planting season. With an impressive background of having worked for Black Gold Farms, Mortenson Bros. Farms, Pest Pros, Pavelski Enterprises, Tri-Ag Services and Centrol, Mark Haynes has been involved in some interesting projects. One at Black Gold Farms involved evaluating the efficiency and accuracy of a Harriston clamp planter, a Spudnik cup planter, and a Lockwood Air Cup planter. He says the Lockwood Air Cup (shown) is an accurate, highly efficient planter with great singulation.

northern Red River Valley. There, he worked with seed growers from Lake of the Woods and process growers in the valley. He has since worked for Tri-Ag Services, Pavelski Enterprises, Pest Pros, Mortenson Bros. Farms, Black Gold Farms and in his present position with Bula-Gieringer Farms. One of the largest potato and vegetable operations in Wisconsin, Bula-Gieringer Farms was founded, in 1980, when Mark Bula formed a partnership with Mark Gieringer. The farm has land in Adams County as well as three out-of-state farms, one in the Keithsburg, Illinois, area, and two farms in Florida, one of which Bula-Gieringer Farms owns. Mark bought the Florida farm several years ago. Bula’s son, Shawn, has been working on the farm since he was as young boy and has an associate degree in business and marketing from MidState Technical College. How many years have you been involved in potatoes and vegetables, Mark, and why do you ultimately find it a satisfying field? I have worked in vegetable and potato production for 38 years. I briefly worked as a sales agronomist in southeastern Minnesota for a cooperative in 1986, working with cash corn and soybean growers and hog farmers. Man was that ever boring!

at Amherst Junction when driving back and forth from Minnesota and Wisconsin on the holidays. So, I interviewed with Richard Pavelski, and in 1987, he hired me as an agronomist for Pavelski Enterprises. It was a great experience. I got to know the potato growers in Central Wisconsin and work alongside talented people like Richard, Joe Nagel, Kent Syth and Scott Parr.

Above: There is no substitute for scouting and spending a lot of time in fields, says Mark Haynes. A field of Atlantic potatoes on Black Gold Farms shows early hunger symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

What value do you think your experience brings to Bula-Gieringer Farms? I think it is the unique skill set I have. Having worked as a crop consultant for 25 years, I observed continued on pg. 10

Nothing against corn and bean growers, but I hated the hog barns. I had to watch the Minnesota Vikings every Sunday for six years and not the Green Bay Packers! I wanted to get back to Wisconsin and the crop I enjoyed working with most— potatoes. A high-risk and high-reward crop like potatoes requires constant attention to water management, disease and pest management, and nutrition. Every day is different and exciting. I had noticed the big fertilizer tower BC�T September


Interview. . .

continued from pg. 9

many different management techniques on the production side. Also, in 38 cropping seasons, I have seen a lot and the outcomes from different choices. I have been able to network with other potato agronomists all over the United States and compare notes. This gave me the tools to be a good

agronomist at the farm level. Seeing the crop every day, doing all the planning and scouting, I can make split-second decisions that are the most economical and profitable for the crop. Because we cannot control the weather, I put my faith and trust in God to make the right decisions. What makes Bula-Gieringer Farms special to you? I have known Mark Bula for 33 years. I met him in 1987 and began scouting Mark’s potatoes while working at Pavelski Enterprises. I continued that role as his crop consultant for the 20 years I worked at Pest Pros. I have been blessed to move back to Wisconsin after working for Black Gold Farms in Winamac, Indiana, for the 2019 growing season, and getting terribly homesick.

Potato agronomists, like Mark Haynes of Bula-Gieringer Farms, live with the crews at planting time, measuring and reporting efficiency, and making necessary adjustments. 10 BC�T September

I now work with someone I have known for a long time and in a family situation. In fact, one of my scouts is Shawn Bula’s daughter, Kyra. It is very enjoyable and fulfilling, a nice way to end up my career.

Above: Harvest 2020 was in full swing at Bula-Gieringer Farms’ Keithsburg, Illinois, location.

Is Bula-Gieringer Farms still raising over 8,700 acres of potatoes in addition to vegetables? BulaGieringer Farms raises over 11,000 acres of vegetables. That includes 4,500 acres of potatoes and 5,000 acres of canning crops, sweet corn, snap beans and peas. There are 650 acres of sweet potatoes, 600 acres of silage corn, 300 acres of alfalfa, 200 acres of grass hay and 400 acres of cattle pasture. Are most potatoes grown for the fresh market, and are any grown for chipping? Explain. Almost all of BulaGieringer potatoes our processed, about half russets and half chips. We are growing 140 acres of table stock russets in Illinois. What impresses you about BulaGieringer Farms? I am impressed most with the resiliency through hard times and the enthusiasm of

a younger generation interested in potato farming. I enjoy mentoring young people when we scout fields. Is the farming operation still involved in Black Angus cattle, and if so, how many head, and who runs that arm of the business? Brendan Knapp is our full-time herdsman. He does a great job and loves cattle. We have 175 mama cows and 45 bulls. What are your main roles and goals as an agronomist, and is each day as interesting as the next? My main goal is to grow a high-yielding and profitable potato crop, with good quality and long-term storability. Every year is different, and I incorporate new chemistries or better production techniques when appropriate. It has been a blast! I encourage young students to consider agronomy as a career, especially in high-value crops like potatoes.

Mark Haynes enjoys solving management problems. In Illinois, tremendous amounts of pitted and ivy leaf morning glory were present in fields. What is the best way to control them?

Has the coronavirus affected the business or way operations are run? COVID-19 has affected our business. It has slowed down processing volumes. McCain’s, as well as other processors, had a large contract reduction just prior to planting. We had to make a lot of last-minute changes for the 2020-’21 crop year.

crop’s nutritional status, and add any unscheduled fertilizer and foliar micronutrients based on visual and petiole tests.

What information do you think Mark and Shawn Bula rely most on from you and why? Mark and Shawn rely on me to schedule weekly pesticide applications based on scouting observations, keep up to date on the

The year begins with crop planning. I like to have fields soil sampled in 2.5-acre grids.

I also like to enter crop inputs into databases when I have the time or double-check the work of other people that do that.

prescriptions for VRT (Variable Rate Technology) in applying potash, K-Mag if needed, and sometimes P maps on rented ground if it has low phosphorus [P] values. I also work with dolomitic ag lime maps on ground we own. Most potato growers lime immediately after the potato crop, so the ground is souring up the next time planted into potatoes.

In the winter, I work with

continued on pg. 12



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BC�T September 11

Interview. . .

continued from pg. 11

When soil pH is dropping, the calcium and magnesium levels rapidly drop. This is considered a best management practice to reduce pitted scab. In this scenario, it is common to see 10 to 20 percent of the field low in magnesium. A WISE CHOICE A VRT map can be made just for these areas. Since this is a $50- to$60-an-acre treatment, a VRT map is a wise choice. In the days before VRT, or if only a composite sample was available, most agronomists would put on half the required rate if the field was low in magnesium and call it good, or maybe not know that a response could be realized. I used to do that myself. I have a lot of experience where the break lines for soil test values should be and the amount of fertilizer to apply. I have been doing this every year for the last 12 years. Surprisingly, 95 percent of the corn growers in Illinois and Indiana grid sample. But I bet most potato acres grown in the Central Sands just use composite tests. Maybe that’s because good information is not

Left: Even at 5 years old, Yi was studying hard! Right: Yi Wang (right) talks to potato grower Andy Diercks (left) of Coloma Farms while standing in front of a Spudnik AirSep Harvester.

available to make VRT maps, or just that growers don’t perceive a benefit. I have seen a big benefit. I also have a better grip on what the response will be from micronutrients, specifically zinc (zinc soil test values vary a lot in any place in the field).

Back when I worked for Richard Pavelski, he pioneered grid sampling and VRT applications. I was fortunate to work alongside Joe Nagel as we would ponder and discuss practical break points for management zones. LIQUID FERTILIZERS Also, at that time, manufactured dry fertilizers with powerful micro packages were the norm. Now, decades later, the industry has shifted to liquid applications and the microapplications are limited by being liquid. I have seen a big shift in soil test levels for zinc, from the 1980’s when they were routinely high to now Above: In addition to potato and vegetable crops, Bula-Gieringer Farms raises Black Angus cattle, with Brendan Knapp being the full-time herdsman. The operation currently has 175 mama cows and 45 bulls. Left: Prior to planting, potato agronomists spend a lot of time in the seed cutting facility checking size distribution and average seed piece weight. Mark Haynes says he does not like this dusty, noisy job.

12 BC�T September

when they are often in the low or medium ranges. Although potatoes are only rated as having a moderate response to zinc, I have seen good response to applied zinc sulfate when soil tests are low, quite often in the range of rates we used back in the ’80s. How ironic! In late March, it is off to the seed room to evaluate seed size, and when we start planting, all my time is spent doing planter efficiency evaluations. You only get one chance to plant the crop, and it is common for planter depth to get off target. With some seed lots and spacing, it takes a while to get everything dialed in. I help that process along. I am also responsible for the Illinois operation, performing the same duties as in Wisconsin. How was the growing season? The growing season went great, though it was kind of nerve-racking after

“I am proud of the fact that, in all my years as a farm agronomist, the farms I have worked at have never had any storage issues related to late blight, despite many years of heavy late blight infection.” – Mark Haynes planting with the below-normal temperatures. Some of our early planted varieties took almost 40 days to emerge. But we have been blessed with good weather ever since, I saw tuber development about a week ahead of schedule. I expect to hit harvest goals, and hopefully, better than expected. Have any issues related to agronomy reared up that you have had to deal

with? One thing that has bugged me as a farm agronomist the last decade is the occasional dud field, one that dies prematurely with only half a crop. I made it a personal mission to avoid this from happening. Weather we cannot control, and large, untimely rains after planting often produce seed rot. Sometimes you can replant, but sometimes you cannot do that. continued on pg. 14

BC�T September 13

Interview. . .

continued from pg. 13

But premature early dying can usually be avoided through variety selection or holding the field out of production for a year or two if the verticillium dahlia levels are too high, or by fumigating at higher rates. Dr. Ann MacGuidwin, a UW-Madison nematologist, told us at last year’s extension meetings that 90 percent of the fields investigated for premature death have high levels of root lesion nematodes. Most growers do not do early dying tests of their fields the year before planting. This is extremely valuable information. I even like to study the early dying results for the last 10 to 15 years if possible. Metam sodium is rated only average for nematode control. If the field has high levels the season before, there is a good chance the fumigant will not clean it up. NEMATODE CONTROL We have the tools available to manage in-season nematodes. Vydate C-LV insecticide went generic recently, and it only costs about half of what it did a decade ago. I plan the number of applications based on the nematode pressure the year before. I like to use Velum Prime for in-furrow applications because of worker safety issues, and it lasts a long time in the soil. For five years, I also have trialed the Certis USA biological product

Two weeks after emergence of Russet Burbank potatoes in Wisconsin, many growers noticed odd herbicide injury symptoms. After networking with other growers and university extension specialists, Mark Haynes still does not know why.

MeloCon, a fungus that attacks only parasitic nematodes. It is a totally safe, effective product to use. In our Illinois operation, we use MeloCon on most of the acres, no Velum Prime or Vydate. I anticipate using it on a larger percentage of our acres in the future.

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Velum Prime got labeled for in-furrow applications a few years back, and we use that if nematode pressure is high. I use a different SDHI (Succinate Dehydrogenase Inhibitors) material for foliar white mold control. Humic acids applied to chip varieties, when they begin to succumb to wilt in early July, are an effective tool. The best one on the market is BioGro’s Premium 21. I like to apply three-to-five gallons an acre. Potato production cost is $4,000/acre to grow. A $100/acre investment in fields for premature dying is a good investment. On large-scale potato production, a few bad fields really reduce the overall yield average in any given year, and so far, I have been happy with the results.

What are you looking for each day in the field? We monitor insect and disease levels in the potato fields. Depending on the time of year, we do different things. As plants emerge, and up until before canopy closure, we take stand and stem counts, and lay out any trial work. We check for weed escapes, and sometimes you can have some early season insect pressure.

after vine kill flagging out wet holes or areas that have rot to minimize any bad potatoes getting into storage. What storage challenges do you face each year, and how long can BulaGieringer Farms store potatoes? We store potatoes through June. Some varieties can be real challenging every year to store, like Lamokas. With other varieties, we have not had many issues. Fall harvest with a lot of

rain and heat can be real challenging for any variety. I understand there is also a trucking operation—how many trucks, and how far do they transport potatoes and/or vegetables? Bula-Gieringer has 40 semis, and we transport potatoes in 25 states and haul back all kinds of different things, from ice cream to paper.

Once the systemic applications break for beetles at the end of June, we are assessing the levels of beetles and spraying when needed. This goes on until vine killing. Late June begins a six-to-seven-week petiole testing program. Diseases begin to show up after canopy closure, so we are always trying to protect the mid- to upper-canopy and keep the early blight or brown spot at bay. A good white mold program is a must, but often overlooked. On some varieties, this is a real challenge. On bad late blight years, scouting is paramount to a successful storage year. This requires probably twice the normal time, good scouts, and quite often follow-up scouting later in the week.

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I am proud of the fact that, in all my years as a farm agronomist, the farms I have worked at have never had any storage issues related to late blight, despite many years of heavy late blight infection. In 2015, I remember at one point in the middle of summer, we had 25 fields with active late blight. Late in the summer, we can sometimes see the development of aphid issues, and we are usually spending extra time checking shaded borders for late blight. What is your role in taking potatoes to storage? After getting our soil samples taken, I hope to coordinate our liming and gypsum fall application. But I will spend time


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Healthy Grown Integrates into National Sustainability Programs

Above: WPVGA Director of Promotions & Consumer Education Dana Rady participates in a controlled burn on Healthy Grown land in Wisconsin.

Program helps growers use research-based production and Integrated Pest Management protocols

solutions developed by our research and outreach teams in collaboration with growers.

By Deana Knuteson, Ph.D., Healthy Grown and Wisconsin ag sustainability programs

But, does Healthy Grown fit into the larger, national sustainability picture?

The award winning Healthy Grown® potato and vegetable sustainability program has been certifying high bar potatoes and vegetables in Wisconsin for 20 years!

National sustainability programs are becoming popular as supply chain partners are increasingly wanting to source products from growers that can document improvements in certain criteria.

Since its inception, Healthy Grown has helped farmers use researchbased production and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) protocols, manage inputs and enhance ecosystem conservation efforts. Healthy Grown standards include potatoes, carrots and onions. Participating farmers certify their whole operations by implementing landscape-level restoration practices on non-production lands and providing certified value in 16 BC�T September

restoration of non-agricultural farmlands, including wetlands, prairies, forests or other habitats. This unique grower-based program promotes agricultural sustainability and enhances environmental farming while putting Wisconsin growers in a position to capture the expanding consumer demand for sustainable options in the marketplace. The program has provided opportunities for certified growers while also creating positive recognition for the whole Wisconsin vegetable industry. These outcomes are laudable and give promise to our local markets by providing locally based, valuable

SUSTAINABILITY CRITERIA Agricultural sustainability focuses on economic, environmental and social criteria. While the specific definition of sustainability varies to include people, the planet and profit, combining to make up the “triple bottom line,” emphasis is always on the environmental, economic and social components of sustainability. To address agricultural suitability

solutions, programs are looking at how to calculate and track progress along the sustainability continuum and how they can verify that continual improvements are being made on farms. Specific programs like Field To Market (, the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (https://www.stewardshipindex. org/) and the LEAF program (Linking Environment and Farming, https:// have developed online tools to help track farming systems. Others like the Cool Farm Tool ( have created programmatic metrics to track sustainability. Some retailers have developed their own sustainability assessments, such as Walmart’s Sustainability Index ( global-responsibility/environmentsustainability/sustainability-indexleaders-shop), the Sustainability

Consortium (https://www. or Pepsico (https://www.pepsico. com/sustainability/esg-topics-az#agriculture), which is seeking sustainably sourced products, including potatoes. The potato industry itself is looking to advance and document changes on the ground with the Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA, https://, which was re-launched in December of 2019 to advance new ideas and metrics to help growers document their on-farm practice adoption. Traceability, the ability to track product from seed to table, is also encouraged in the marketplace and is becoming more important in the bigdata approaches for sustainability. BUSINESS INCENTIVES Incentives are also being developed to encourage sustainability adoption. These “awards” may be in the

Above: The Healthy Grown® potato and vegetable sustainability program has been certifying high bar potatoes and vegetables in Wisconsin for 20 years!

form of a premium for product, preferential buying, reduced insurance rates, recognition through public investments such as tax breaks or direct payments for practice adoption. continued on pg. 18

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Healthy Grown Integrates into National Sustainability Programs . . . continued from pg. 17

For 20-plus years, Healthy Grown has worked to document and track changes on Wisconsin potato and vegetable farms and is a proven example of local solutions to on-farm sustainability challenges. While Healthy Grown fits under the national sustainability frameworks, to stay relevant, the program must continue to evolve and add criteria, especially those focused on new and emerging issues. An example of this continual progress occurred in 2020 when Healthy Grown added a new “Water Quantity/Quality and Nutrient Management Planning” module to address those issues. This module focused on ways to increase efficiencies in water and nutrient management, while still maintaining economic viability. It is intended as a farm-by-farm look at the intricacies and nuances of on-farm water and nutrient management and is based on a similar approach used for IPM adoption and pesticide risk assessments. So, does Healthy Grown fit into the complex sustainability world? Of course, it does, as the program has developed a system to look at changes on the ground, tackle new issues and promote positive advances for the entire Wisconsin vegetable industry. The evidence is clear that the program is moving the industry in the right direction, and we will continue to grow, keep innovating and work to enhance our sustainability program while promoting advances for the industry.

Healthy Grown farmers certify their whole farming operation by implementing landscape-level restoration practices on their non-production lands and providing certified value in restoration of non-agricultural farmlands, including wetlands, prairies, forest or other habitats.





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S A L E S ~ S E R V I C E ~ PA R T S ~ T R U C K L E A S E / R E N TA L ~ F I N A N C E 18 BC�T September

The 11th World Potato Congress

31 MAY - 3 JUNE 2021

31 May - 3 June 2021, Dublin, Ireland

The WPC 2021 & Europatat Congress registration is now open! » Don’t delay, register now to participate in this prestigious event. » Along with the Congress registration you can book your accommodation, social events and tours. » Visit the Congress website for further details.

The Changing World of the Potato WPC Inc. and the Irish Potato Federation are pleased to invite you to the 11th World Potato Congress (WPC 2021) in Dublin, Ireland. This is the world’s leading event for potato professionals, and offers an opportunity for delegates to gain a unique insight into the future of the rapidly changing world of the potato. The WPC 2021 Congress will be held in conjunction with the Europatat Congress 2021.

Keynote Speakers » Cedric Porter - Editor, World Potato Markets, UK » Damien P. McLoughlin - Anthony C. Cunningham Professor of Marketing, Ireland » Lauren M. Scott - Chief Marketing Officer of the Produce Marketing Association, USA » Tara McCarthy - Chief Executive, Bord Bia (Irish Food Board), Ireland

Main Congress Topics » » » » »


» Louise O. Fresco - President of the Executive Board of Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands » Robert G. Kearns - President and Founder, Kearns Insurance Corporation and Kearns Investment Corporation, Canada » Katherine Beals - PhD, RD, FACSM, CSSD, Associate Professor (clinical) in the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology at the University of Utah, USA » Dr. Tom Arnold - Chair, Irish 2030 Agri-Food Strategy Committee, Ireland » Dr. Mark Lyons – President and CEO, Alltech, USA

Follow us on social media to stay up to date @wpc2021Ireland

See you in Ireland in 2021!

Ultimate Guide

to Growing Potatoes in Containers The practice saves garden space and is less labor intensive than other methods By Elizabeth Jones Reprinted with permission from and Growing potatoes in containers is a great idea if a home gardener is short on space. Not only is this an easy process, it is also one of the most rewarding. Even the smallest container will yield a pleasing crop of potatoes. Potatoes are ideal for container

gardens. Their lush green foliage is a perfect partner for more showier ornamental plants. Growing spuds in containers is also a great way to make the most of an empty corner of a balcony or patio. Easier than growing tubers in the ground, growing potatoes

“Even the smallest container will yield a pleasing crop of potatoes.”

– Elizabeth Jones

in containers requires little digging or manual effort. You also don’t need perfect soil to enjoy fresh, homegrown potatoes. The process also helps to protect tubers from soil-borne diseases and pests such as scab and potato cyst nematodes. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about growing potatoes in containers. We will discuss everything from selecting the best varieties to preparing your container through to plant care and harvesting your crops. Above: While early maturing potato varieties are preferred, all are suitable for container cultivation. Left: Old burlap sacks provide ideal conditions for tuber plants. Breathable and well-draining, the material is also sturdy enough to safely hold the soil and plants.

20 BC�T September

PERSONAL TASTE All varieties of tuber are suitable for growing potatoes in containers. Ultimately your choice is down to personal taste. Many gardeners find that, when growing potatoes in containers, the best results are delivered by first and second early varieties. These are types that will usually mature early, in 70-90 days. Early maturing varieties also enable you to harvest your crops before blight arrives in the summer. The red Norland variety is a particularly early tuber that is well suited to this process. Yukon Gold, a yellow-fleshed early maturing variety, is another popular choice. Salad varieties also work particularly well. Varieties such as fingerlings, Wisconsin reds and round whites are all popular choices. Make sure that you select certified disease-free seed potato varieties. SELECTING A CONTAINER You can purchase purposemade potato planter bags. These make harvesting the crop a simple process. Each bag will accommodate three to four tubers.

container to use is up to you and what works best in your space. Just make sure your chosen container is clean and has drainage holes in the bottom. Overplanting a container will lead to small or deformed tubers. Plants will struggle to thrive and may even fail to produce a crop. Each plant needs around 2.5 gallons of soil to grow. PLANTS PER CONTAINER Containers 1-foot in diameter each will hold one plant. Two-foot-

Above: Large containers such as old barrels will provide up to four potato plants with enough room to grow and flourish. However, using a large container will require more soil than cultivating the same number of plants in four separate, small containers.

diameter containers can hold up to three plants. A purpose-made potato growing bag will comfortably hold three-to-four plants, and a larger bin or bucket will hold four-to-five plants. continued on pg. 22

Alternatively, any large container can be used to grow tubers. You can use several small pots, planting one plant in each, or a larger container. You can even use an old garbage can or water barrel. Heavy burlap bags make ideal containers because the material breathes and drains well. The container rarely affects the size of your crop. Cultivating several tubers in small pots will yield roughly the same size crop as cultivating the same number of plants in a large container such as a barrel or garbage can. The only noticeable difference is that the smaller containers require less soil and compost. When it comes to growing potatoes in containers, the choice over what BC�T September 21

Ultimate Guide to Growing Potatoes in Containers . . . continued from pg. 21

Your chosen container should have enough room for the soil to be built up around the plants as they grow. This is key to encouraging more tubers to form. Before you begin, you will need to prepare the tubers. The preparation process for growing potatoes in containers is similar to cultivating in the ground. Basically, before planting, the potatoes need to sprout. To sprout tubers, place them in an egg carton with their eye or eyes facing up. Place the egg carton in a cool but light location. The eyes will grow into stubby, green shoots. The tubers can then be planted. Your chosen soil should be well draining. You can use garden soil or purchase fresh, general purpose compost. Perlite can also be used. Place each container in a location where it will get direct sun, thus allowing the plants to receive sixto-eight hours of light a day. The temperature should average around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You can begin growing potatoes in containers as soon as the last local

Before planting, allow your chosen varieties to sprout. Once the sprouts are strong and noticeable, you can plant the tubers in the soil.

frost date has passed. If a late frost does threaten, you can move the containers into a sheltered location. AVOIDING FROST You can also begin growing potatoes in containers undercover and move outside once any danger of frost has passed.

Place a layer of drainage material such as small pieces of Styrofoam or broken clay pots or crocks on the bottom of your chosen pot. Mix a handful of slow-release general purpose fertilizer into your soil. You can also mix in homemade garden compost if you want to enrich the soil. Moisten the soil and place it in the container. You are aiming to create a layer roughly five inches deep. Place the sprouted tubers on the surface of the soil. Larger seed varieties with multiple eyes can be cut in half or into 2-inch sections. Smaller varieties can be planted whole. Cover the tubers with a layer of soil and water well. After a couple of days, you will notice that the shoots are continuing to grow, emerging through the soil. When the sprouts reach 4 inches above the surface, add more soil, covering all but the top tips of the leaves. This is known as earthing up or hilling. Continue to earth up the plants as

22 BC�T September

they grow, keeping the soil moist during this period. The process of covering and watering will need to be constantly repeated until the plant comes close to the top of the container. CARING FOR THE CROP You will not need to dig or weed the crops at all. If weeds do appear, they can be pulled up or treated with an application of homemade weed killer. Growing potatoes in containers, though, requires more water than the same crop growing in the ground. This is because the root system of the plant is unable to work though the ground seeking moisture. When the plants reach the top of the container and their foliage begins to thicken, they will require even more water. Harvesting rainwater to reuse in the garden is a great way to keep plants irrigated without racking up the water bill.

As plants flower, they require more water. Use a watering can to penetrate the foliage, ensuring moisture reaches the soil.

The plants will also benefit from an occasional application of a liquid feed as they grow. Well balanced organic

fertilizers such as seaweed extract are ideal. Alternatively, you can try making your own.

continued on pg. 24


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Ultimate Guide to Growing Potatoes in Containers . . . continued from pg. 23

HARVESTING THE CROP Continue to water your plants until they begin to flower. Once the plants have flowered and the foliage is starting to yellow, cease watering. After a week, you will be able to harvest the crop.

Flowering is a sign that the plants are ready to harvest. This is the most difficult part of growing potatoes in containers. You will need to dig through the soil looking for any tubers that feel the right size. These can then be harvested.

New potatoes can be harvested before the plants flower. Watch the foliage carefully for any sign of blooms emerging. When you see buds, harvest your crop.

Alternatively, you can harvest the entire crop in one go. To do this, cut away the remaining foliage. Then empty the soil, picking out your tubers.

Left: The emergence of flower buds is a sign the potato crop is nearing maturity and almost ready to be harvested. For small, new tubers, harvest before the buds can flower. If large tubers are desired, allow the plants to flower and begin to die back before harvesting. Right: Little tastes better than freshly harvested, homegrown potatoes. Growing in containers enables gardeners of all abilities to enjoy the experience, even if space is at a premium.

STORING YOUR POTATOES Once harvested, clean the tubers. If you are keeping the spuds for use during the summer or winter months, cure for two weeks before storing. Stored correctly, tubers will keep for up to several months. However, if you do find yourself with some extra tubers, why not try using them to root rose cuttings? Growing potatoes in containers is a great solution if space is at a premium. Like no-dig gardening, it is also far less labor intensive than other methods.

Growing potatoes in containers is not only suitable for gardeners with limited space, it is also less labor intensive than other methods. 24 BC�T September

The practice allows everyone to enjoy the lush foliage and great taste of homegrown potatoes.


20th Annual Putt-Tato Open Was an Above Par Event

Above: It was a picture-perfect day for the 20th Annual WPVGA Associate Division Putt-Tato Open golf tournament at Bullseye Golf Club in Wisconsin Rapids, July 14, 2020.

Associate Division golf tournament lands the green in raising funds for research, scholarships and more

to worthy causes throughout the upcoming year.

With golf courses designated fairly safe places to be during the COVID-19 pandemic, 37 foursomes took full advantage of the opportunity that the 2020 Putt-Tato Open presented, July 14, at Bullseye Golf Club in Wisconsin Rapids.

Sponsored by the Associate Division of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA), the 20th Annual Putt-Tato Open golf tourney raised funds for initiatives such as college scholarships, agricultural research and donations

A four-person scramble format, the Putt-Tato Open is an opportunity for Wisconsin’s potato and vegetable industry to take a pause mid-season before harvesttime to have fun and enjoy some networking and camaraderie. continued on pg. 26

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Eyes On Associates . . . continued from pg. 25

Thanks to players, donations, sponsors, and raffle and mulligan sales, the 20th edition of the event raised more than $26,000 for worthy industry causes. Associate Division Board members were out in full force in front of the clubhouse, checking groups in and selling mulligans to golfers who proved generous in their support of the industry.

WPVGA Executive Assistant Julie Braun and Financial Officer Karen Rasmussen once again coordinated the event, setting up a booth to sell raffle tickets and visit with golfers throughout the day. Rural Mutual Insurance: Zinda Insurance Group of Plover, and Jim Wehinger, Adams, sponsored a delicious lunch on the course, and Volm Companies ponied up as a Gold Dinner Sponsor for an impressive

Left: At ease on the course and representing Oasis Irrigation are, from left to right, Cory Hilpipre, Jim Edden, Dawson Knutson and Mark Bacon. Right: Andy Schroeder of Schroeder Bros. Farms Inc., playing for Ron’s Refrigeration, kicks up some sod while hitting a nice chip shot from the fairway.

spread put on by the golf course. AND THE WINNERS ARE … After dinner, Associate Division President Kenton Mehlberg awarded the tournament winners and, with the help of WPVGA staff, announced and gave out raffle and door prizes. Though the winners have bragging rights for the rest of the year, it is evident that golfers largely participate in the tournament and purchase chances to win prizes to support their industry.

And the 1st Place winners of the 2020 Putt-Tato Open four-person scramble are … with a score of 58 … from left to right, Nic Bushman, Chris Lockery and John Hopfensperger. The fourth member of the team, Derrick Bushman of Bushmans' Inc., had to answer a work call during the tournament. 26 BC�T September

All segments of the potato and vegetable growing industry are represented, from large growing operations to insurance companies and banks, lending offices, real estate agents, fertilizer, irrigation, chemical, implement and equipment dealers, the trucking, storage, building and construction segments, processing, refrigeration, printing and utilities. Efforts are made to ensure that each hole and every hour of the

tournament are enjoyable. Hole sponsors offer gifts, games and refreshments, and in addition to the raffle prizes, there are hole awards for longest drives and putts and being closest to the pins, as well as other monetary prizes up for grabs to golfers with the best shots. Gold dinner and silver sponsors were Volm Companies; AgCountry and Compeer Financial; Big Iron Equipment and Spudnik; Sand County Equipment and Lemken USA; Nachurs; Syngenta; T.I.P. Inc., AgGrow Solutions and Redox; and the WPVGA Associate Division. A nice break during the growing season, the Putt-Tato Open would not be possible without contributions from sponsors and the Associate Division. The event generates

From left to right, Andrew Koehl, Justin Yach, Chris Brooks and Trina Yach had a nice time on the course. Justin (Compass Insurance) and Chris (Central Door Solutions) are members of the WPVGA Associate Division Board of Directors.

continued on pg. 28

Top-Left: As a hole sponsor, Fencil Urethane Systems not only supports the event monetarily, but also donates and raffles off a booze wagon, which has proven to be lucrative for the tournament and potato and vegetable growing industry the last couple years. From left to right are Ceci, Darci and Cyrus Laudenbach, and Butch Fencil of Fencil Urethane. Additionally, Ceci and Cyrus sell golf balls during the Putt-Tato Open, with all proceeds going back to the industry. In total, the group raised $1,400 for a good cause. Top-Right: Finding a place to rest while playing for Gagas Farms are, from left to right, Cliff and Carole Gagas, Paul Skibba and Bob Ebben, the latter of Edward Jones Financial.

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Eyes On Associates . . . continued from pg. 27

significant funds that are put right back into the industry. A longstanding commitment to the potato and vegetable growing industry ensures a large turnout each year and that it will return bigger and better in 2021. Right: Representing one of two Sand County Equipment teams, Jacob Kringstad rolls the dice at the M3 Insurance sponsored hole, while teammate Jarod Cieslewicz (right) looks on. Winners of the dice game got three entries for a chance to ultimately win a wine-and-cheese-filled cooler, cutting board, corkscrew and cheese knife.

Playing for the Legacy Accounting & Financial team, Tom Stout smashes one off the tee.

SUPPORT YOUR FELLOW WPVGA MEMBERS When you need goods or services, please consider asking our Associate Division Members for quotes or explore what they have to offer. Together, we make a strong organization and appreciate how wonderful we are as a group. 28 BC�T September

Taking 2nd Place at the Putt-Tato Open with a score of 61 are, from left to right, Dan Dunn, Max and Steve Tatro, and Mark Nichols, all representing T.I.P. Inc. and AgGrow Solutions.

Wayne Solinsky of team Jay-Mar, Inc. was his usual smiling self at the 2020 Putt-Tato Open.

Above: John Laabs from Green Bay Packaging was the lucky winner of a Giant brand bike sponsored by the WPVGA Associate Division and Campus Cycle of Stevens Point. Middle Right: Seated from left to right and back cart to front are Matt Kolling, Andy Verhasselt, Kenton Mehlberg and Jay Wolf. Kenton is president of the WPVGA Associate Division. Bottom: A score of 63 landed 3rd Place at the Putt-Tato Open for the Roberts Irrigation team, from left to right, Luke Abbrederis, Rich Anderson, Bill Barnes and Jared Abbrederis.

continued on pg. 30

BC�T September 29

Eyes On Associates . . . continued from pg. 29

Above: Fresh and ready to hit the links, the I-State Truck team is, from left to right, Bob Pohl, Eric Gabel, Tyler Korth and O.J. Wojtalewicz. Left: Playing for one of two McCain Foods USA teams entered in the Putt-Tato Open are, from left to right, Brook Brown, Brandon Ruffalo, Morgan Forbush and Are Vang.


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Posing by his brand-new RTIC cooler, donated by Gowan Company, is Sheldon Carlton of Service Motor Company.


WPVGA Associate Division

to the 2020 Putt-Tato Open Golf Sponsors GOLD SPONSOR Volm Companies, Inc.

SILVER SPONSORS AgCountry FCS & Compeer Financial Big Iron Equipment, Inc. & Spudnik Lemken USA & Sand County Equipment Nachurs Syngenta Crop Protection T.I.P./AgGrow Solutions/Redox

LUNCH SPONSORS Rural Mutual Insurance: Zinda Insurance Group, Plover, WI Jim Wehinger, Adams, WI


BEVERAGE SPONSORS Jay-Mar, Inc. Progressive Ag

GOLF BALL SPONSOR Sand County Equipment

RAFFLE PRIZE SPONSORS • RTIC Cooler – Gowan USA • Camp Chairs – Calcium Products • Custom Bean Bag Toss Game – Compass Insurance • Adventure Outfitters Gift Certificate – Sally Suprise Agency, Rural Mutual Insurance • Cooler Gift Basket – Swiderski Equipment • Giant Bicycle – Campus Cycle & WPVGA Associate Division • 65” Samsung Smart TV – WPVGA Associate Division • Bullseye Gift Certificates – Bullseye Golf Club • Bullseye Gift Certificate – Altmann Construction Company, Inc.

HOLE SPONSORS AbbyBank Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative Altmann Construction Company, Inc.

Anderson O’Brien Law Firm Baker Tilly BMO Harris Bank CC Graphics & Fencil Urethane Systems CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP) Calcium Products Compass Insurance Services Edward Jones/Bob Ebben Gowan USA Green Bay Packaging, Inc. I State Truck Insight FS J.W. Mattek & Sons, Inc. Jordan Lamb, DeWitt Law Firm Keller, Inc. The Little Potato Company M3 Insurance

McCain Foods USA Mid-State Truck Service Mt. Morris Mutual Insurance Company Nelson’s Vegetable Storage Systems Nutrien Ag Solutions Oasis Irrigation Oro Agri Peoples State Bank The Portage County Bank Progressive Ag RPE, Inc./Wysocki Family of Companies Roberts Irrigation Company, Inc. Ron’s Refrigeration & AC, Inc. Service Motor Company T H Agri-Chemicals, Inc.


By Dana Rady, WPVGA Director of Promotions and Consumer Education

Dykstra Elected to Potatoes USA Board Members represent grower interests and provide information to maximize returns Wendy Dykstra of Alsum Farms & Produce, in Friesland, is the newest member representing Wisconsin on the Potatoes USA Board. She will officially begin her term in March 2021. Each term lasts three years with an opportunity to be re-elected for a second three-year term. No representative can serve for more than two consecutive three-year terms. During her term, she will attend the Potatoes USA meeting held annually in March, and other meetings/events as scheduled. As a Wisconsin representative elected to the Potatoes USA Board,

Dykstra, along with five other board members for the state, is responsible for representing grower interests and keeping them informed on how Potatoes USA is fulfilling needs and maximizing returns. Dykstra says she is looking forward to beginning another new role in her professional career “to help strengthen demand for U.S. Potatoes and educate consumers on the health benefits and versatility of potatoes.” “I feel my career and life experiences have prepared me well,” Dykstra states. “I’ve been able to learn more about Potatoes USA programs over the years through family members on the board, both my dad, Larry Alsum,

past chairman, and my sister, Heidi Alsum-Randall, current board and Executive Committee member.” Dykstra worked at the public accounting firm, Grant Thornton, LLP, before rejoining her family’s business, a grower, packer and shipper of Wisconsin potatoes. She is also a 2019 graduate of the Potato Industry Leadership Institute (PILI), the program now known as the Potato Leadership Education & Advancement Foundation, or Potato LEAF. GAINING PERSPECTIVE “[PILI] gave me an even greater perspective and understanding of the important role that Potatoes USA plays in our industry,” she remarks. Dykstra’s position on the Potatoes USA Board is replacing that which her sister, Heidi, has held for the last six years, one that the latter says she has thoroughly enjoyed. “I was privileged to be able to serve one year as a regular board member, two years on the Administrative Committee of Domestic Marketing and the past three years as a member of the Executive Committee as coLeft: The newest Potatoes USA Board member representing Wisconsin, Wendy Dykstra (left, judging the Spud Nation Throwdown at the 2019 Potato Expo) is filling the position her sister, Heidi AlsumRandall, has held for the last six years.

32 BC�T September

chair of industry outreach,” Randall says. “Having the chance to be part of Potatoes USA has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people from across the United States in several potato growing regions. I have really enjoyed learning about the opportunities and challenges that are unique to each region,” Randall relates. “There are so many passionate, hardworking and dedicated people that make up the potato industry,” she continues. “It has been an absolute pleasure to meet and work with so many of them.” Randall adds how much she has enjoyed watching the vision, strategy and staff at Potatoes USA evolve and grow over time. From leading consumers to enjoy

Above: Heidi Alsum-Randall (second from left giving then Wisconsin DATCP Secretary Sheila Harsdorf and friend, Al, a tour of Alsum Farms & Produce) served one year as a regular Potatoes USA Board member, two years on the Administrative Committee for Domestic Marketing and the past three years as a member of the Executive Committee as co-chair of industry outreach. Her sister, Wendy Dykstra (left with back to camera), is replacing her on the Board in March 2021.

U.S. potatoes in more ways to adding team members like Chef R.J. Harvey, who engages with foodservice professionals and consumers alike,


Whether you have multiple crops in one field, changing soil types, or challenging terrain, Reinke VRI allows you to customize your water application for your entire field. Create prescriptions for either your pivot, swing arm corner or both to make sure you get the most out of every acre.

continued on pg. 30

Randall says the inspiration to prepare and enjoy potatoes in unique and creative ways is boldly apparent. continued on pg. 34

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BC�T September 33

Marketplace . . . continued from pg. 33

POTATOES FUEL PERFORMANCE She also credits Potatoes USA with the success of the “Potatoes Fuel Performance” campaign that launched about three years ago. “Wisconsin potato growers have been sharing the message that potatoes are a powerful source of nutrition for the past 15-plus years through their

participation in triathlons,” Randall states. “It has been exciting to see the whole potato industry get behind this initiative.” “Moving forward,” Randall adds, “ I see a lot of potential to continue promoting the versatility and nutritional benefits of potatoes.” Finally, Randall says the formation

of the Potatoes Research Advisory Committee, in 2016, has been a huge asset to the potato industry. “PRAC and the Research Committee at Potatoes USA have done a phenomenal job of working on the industry’s behalf to secure funding for important research. I look forward to serving out my last year on the Potatoes USA Board. It will be bittersweet as I have made a lot of great friends and memories,” Randall concludes. Randall’s transition off the Potatoes USA Board will occur in March 2021, when she hands the baton over to her sister. She continues to serve on the WPVGA Promotions Committee and is president of the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board. In recent years, Wisconsin has been allotted five seats on the Potatoes USA Board. Beginning in 2020, the number of seats increased to six, which is a direct result of production numbers the United States Department of Agriculture sends to Potatoes USA. These production numbers are based on a three-year average. Wisconsin’s five other Potatoes USA Board representatives are: • E rin Baginski, Baginski Farms (Antigo) •K eith Wolter, Hyland Lakes Spuds (Antigo) •M ike Carter, Bushmans’ Inc. (Rosholt) •K evin Schleicher, RPE, Inc. (Bancroft) • J osh Knights, Heartland Farms (Hancock) A special thank you to all our past and current Potatoes USA Board representatives for stepping up to the plate as leaders for the industry and state.

34 BC�T September

Spudmobile Available as Billboard at Businesses Bright colors, vehicle wrap and positive messaging are remarkable sight Even when it’s not open to visitors, the Wisconsin Spudmobile is still a remarkable sight. The bright colors on the outside take visitors through a Wisconsin potato field, with the images of fresh potatoes and prepared potato dishes enough to make anyone hungry. Verbiage encourages consumers to buy Wisconsin potatoes and support their local economies. Although many events have been cancelled due to COVID-19, you can still help us keep Wisconsin’s traveling billboard on the road! We are parking the Spudmobile at interested businesses and farms for a few days or up to a week at a time as a way of promoting the Wisconsin potato industry during the pandemic. Above: The Spudmobile is parked outside of a community center in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, for the “Just add Kids Family Expo” on March 8, 2019. With its bright colors, positive messaging and images of fresh spuds and prepared potato dishes, it makes for an eye-catching billboard and great temporary addition to any Wisconsin ag business’s exterior space.

If you want the Spudmobile parked at your business/farm (free of charge) to serve as a billboard and to support the Wisconsin potato industry, please contact WPVGA Spudmobile Education and Outreach Administrator Doug Foemmel at, or on his cell at 715-340-3164. Doug will work with you on details

concerning drop off, pick up and the length of time the Spudmobile will be parked onsite. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to showcase the Wisconsin potato and vegetable industry at your place of business, especially as we enter another shipping season. We look forward to hearing from you!

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BC�T September 35

People Jakub R. Cieslewicz Dies in Accident His father, Paul, is ag supporter and owner of Sand County Equipment Jakub Ronald Cieslewicz, 24, of Plover, Wisconsin, died unexpectedly Saturday, July 25, 2020, from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident on Friday morning. Jake was born on October 12, 1995. He graduated from Stevens Point Area Senior High, in 2014, and was working for his dad at Sand County Equipment. Jake is survived by his parents, Paul (Cheryl) Cieslewicz and Renee (Phillip) Chatman. He is further survived by his maternal grandma, Rosemary Des Jarlais; brothers, Jarod (Mindy) and Josh Cieslewicz, and Michael and Jason (Robyn) Chatman; his sisters, Liz (Eric) Bebber and Danielle Dahms; and his forever girl, Autumn. He had a very large, extended family and group of friends that were

important to him. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Ronnie and Judy Cieslewicz; maternal grandfather, Bob Des Jarlais; and his sister, Jessica. Jake had a love of life and unique appreciation of its value. He loved sitting by a campfire with friends and spending time on the land and cabin he owned with his father and brothers. He was a registered organ donor and his parents were proud to be able to honor those wishes. A visitation for family and friends was held, July 31, at the Pisarski Community Funeral Home and Cremation Center, in Plover. Private services followed the visitation, and burial took place in Liberty Corners Cemetery, town of Buena Vista.

Jakub Ronald Cieslewicz October 12, 1995 – July 25, 2020

Pisarski Community Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family. For online condolences, please visit

RPE, Inc. Expands Team to the Northeast Sales and operations veteran Lauren Mordasky joins business development team Category leader and innovator RPE, Inc. expands its talented team with new Business Development Manager Lauren Mordasky. On April 13, RPE welcomed the newest member of the business development team, Lauren Mordasky! Lauren is based in Vermont and will be focusing on new account development and expanding business with current customers. “I am so excited to have Lauren join our business and development team,” says Randy Shell, vice president of program and business development. “With Lauren’s produce knowledge and sales experience, she will be a 36 BC�T September

great asset to the RPE team.” Lauren comes to the team with many years of experience in sales, operations, marketing and farming. She has operated a 1,000-acre commodity farm with her husband and two girls. Most recently, she was a partner at Vermont Hydroponic Produce, where she was able to establish a successful brand throughout the Northeast United States. About RPE Category leader RPE is a grower/ shipper of year-round potatoes and onions, providing category innovation

and retail solutions as the exclusive sales and marketing partner of Tasteful Selections and its bestquality, bite-size potatoes.

Peninsular Ag Research Station Names Superintendent Rebecca Wiepz to oversee 120-acre research farm on the Door County Peninsula Rebecca Wiepz has been named superintendent of the Peninsular Agricultural Research Station (PARS), the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison’s 120-acre research farm located near Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on the Door County Peninsula. Wiepz, who started as superintendent, June 1, has specialized experience in fruit crop research and familiarity with PARS, where she was once a research gardener. She returns to the station to oversee a robust orchard fruit program that serves the state’s fruit crop industry

and UW-Madison researchers. Her work will also consider the distinct soil structure at PARS to address the unique nutrient management challenges on the Door County Peninsula. “I’m really excited to be back in Door County,” says Wiepz, “and I’m looking forward to collaborating with university researchers and local growers to help advance and improve the Wisconsin tree fruit industry.” Wiepz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture at UWMadison, in 2015, and a Master of Science in Plant Science at Penn State, in 2019.

Most recently, she served as an extension specialist for viticulture at Cornell AgriTech. At Penn State, her master’s thesis investigated “artificial spur extinction” for apples—a non-chemical crop management technique to reduce the total number of fruit on a tree in order to increase fruit size and quality, and minimize biennial fluctuation in yields. “I’m excited to welcome Becky home continued on pg. 38

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to Wisconsin to serve as the next superintendent of the Peninsular Agricultural Research Station,” says Michael Peters, director of the UW-Madison Agricultural Research Station (ARS) network. 2ND CENTURY OF LEADERSHIP “Her horticultural training, coupled with research and extension experience, make her a perfect leader for PARS as the station prepares for its second century of research leadership,” Peters adds. “I know she’ll look soundly to the future while remembering our history when we celebrate the centennial anniversary of the station in 2022.” Established in 1922, Peninsular Agricultural Research Station is located just north of Sturgeon Bay and part of the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’

(CALS) 11-farm ARS network.

important plants.

PARS is a field laboratory for fruit specialists, where they develop pest control programs and conduct other research to support Wisconsin’s fruit industries by improving yields and quality of apples, cherries, grapes and raspberries.

It maintains the world’s largest collection of wild and cultivated potato species—more than 4,500 samples of over 150 potato species— to support breeding research that improves potatoes in Wisconsin and around the world.

The station is currently involved in a multi-site wine grape variety trial study to identify grape varieties that are well suited to wine production in the state’s various agricultural regions. Small grains and vegetable research, including peas, soybeans and potatoes, is also conducted at the facility.

A display garden at PARS, The Garden Door, is managed in cooperation with the Door County Master Gardeners Association and the UW-Madison Division of Extension.

The station is also home to the U.S. Potato Genebank, a collaborative effort with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to safeguard the genetic diversity of agriculturally

For more information about PARS, visit: https://peninsular.ars.wisc. edu. For more information about UW–Madison’s Agricultural Research Stations, visit:

Wiepz is the station’s fifth superintendent, replacing Matt Stasiak, who retired in 2019.

Gov. Evers Appoints New DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski takes over after having served as interim secretary since 2019 New Wisconsin DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski has held leadership roles across various state agencies, including previously serving as both the deputy secretary and secretary of DATCP under former Gov. Jim Doyle. On June 2, 2020, Gov. Tony Evers appointed Randy Romanski to serve as secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Romanski has served as interim secretary of the agency since November 2019. “Wisconsin’s agricultural community has dealt with challenges for years, from low prices to trade wars to a global pandemic,” Gov. Evers says. “Randy has done an outstanding job leading DATCP through these

38 BC�T September

challenging times, and I believe he’ll continue to do great work as secretary.” Across his 30-year career in public service, Romanski has held leadership roles across various Wisconsin state agencies. He previously served as both the deputy secretary and secretary at DATCP under former Gov. Jim Doyle. “I appreciate Governor Evers’ confidence and trust in me,” Romanski says. “I have been honored to work with the team at DATCP to serve the citizens of the state. I look forward to continuing that work as we serve as a resource to Wisconsin’s diverse agriculture and consumer communities.”

New Wisconsin DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski has held leadership roles across various state agencies, including previously serving as both the deputy secretary and secretary of DATCP under former Gov. Jim Doyle.

New Products

Tong Coil Cleaner Makes Light Work of Sizing Super-speed function on latest models brings time-saving and operational benefits Leading vegetable handling equipment manufacturer, Tong Engineering, is taking the success of its popular potato and vegetable coil cleaning unit to the next level with new advancements for optimum performance and ease of maintenance. Tong’s range of coil cleaning and pregrading systems are designed to offer exceptionally gentle handling of the crop while combining soil removal and sizing within one unit. “Our PU coil cleaner is a popular choice among growers and processors, offering flexible application across a wide variety of root crops, including potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions and more,” says Richard Knighton, sales manager at Tong Engineering. “With reduced downtime and maximum efficiency remaining at the forefront of equipment upgrade decisions, the new superspeed self-cleaning function on the latest models is already proving to bring invaluable time-saving and operational benefits.” Incorporating a heavy duty, scissoraction design, the deformable PU coil 40 BC�T September

shafts feature an easy-maintenance coupling and are fully adjustable to suit a wide range of sizing requirements. With a direct-drive motor on every shaft, the coil cleaning and sizing unit is not only easy to maintain, but also ensures maximum energy efficiency during operation. NO MANUAL CLEANING “One of the key advancements with the new super-speed self-cleaning function is that it removes the need for manual cleaning of coil shafts, particularly when operating in heavysoil conditions,” Knighton says. “This means not only a much safer shaft-cleaning technique, but also a significant reduction in downtime with an automatic self-cleaning process that is performed in a matter of seconds,” he adds. “When coupled with our intelligent Auto-Touch HMI touch-screen controls, the super-speed cleaning process can also be scheduled to automatically commence at predetermined intervals, ensuring maximum performance even in the most demanding cleaning conditions,” Knighton states.

The next generation coil cleaner from Tong can be built to suit all throughput and sizing requirements, available in 4-, 6- and 8- row configurations as standard, and is popularly combined with Tong’s market leading EasyClean separator for unrivaled cleaning and sizing results. “We have had a record year of sales for in-field and on-farm cleaning and grading equipment, and the new super-speed PU coil cleaner has been featured in several of our advanced mobile Caretaker and FieldLoad PRO machines as well as complete potato and vegetable grading lines,” adds Edward Tong, managing director of Tong Engineering. “We pride ourselves in offering the complete vegetable handling solution, and the advancements in our coil cleaning units are giving customers greater options for the most efficient handling of crop, whatever the weather,” he concludes. For more information on Tong’s latest range of handling equipment, visit

Vive Crop Protection & Marrone Bio Innovations Join Forces Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., an international leader in sustainable bio-protection and plant health solutions, and Vive Crop Protection, a leader in precision chemistry solutions and owner of the patented Allosperse® technology, announce an agreement that will provide a suite of ground-breaking products for U.S. growers. The products combine a leading biological with proven conventional chemistry utilizing the unique Allosperse Delivery System. The first product to come from this joint effort will be AZterknot™ FC, a fungicide for broad crop use marketed by Vive Crop Protection. It fuses the plant health benefits of two actives: Reynoutria extract, the active ingredient in biological marketleader Regalia®, and the diseasefighting power of azoxystrobin, the active ingredient in AZteroid® FC 3.3. AZterknot FC will also contain Vive’s Allosperse Delivery System technology, which provides superior handling characteristics including compatibility with in-furrow, pop-up

biologicals in the specialty crop market, and the combination with azoxystrobin and the Allosperse technology will provide specialty crop growers with the convenience of a single product that delivers enhanced performance and improved yield in a highly compatible formulation.

and foliar liquid fertilizers. Pending Environmental Protection Agency registration approval, the product will be approved for foliar and in-furrow application on all major crops in the U.S. (excluding California). Dan Bihlmeyer, vice president of sales and marketing with Vive Crop Protection says, “The collaboration with MBI allows us to bring growers the best of three approaches to crop protection: chemistry, biologicals and nanotechnology.” TWO ACTIVES “With AZterknot FC, growers will have access to the combined power of a leading biological and of a proven fungicide chemistry,” Bihlmeyer adds. “Research has shown that the two actives, in combination with the Allosperse Delivery System, work together to control disease, improve plant health and increase yield.” MBI will also market a version of the product to specialty crop growers when regulatory approval is granted. Regalia is one of the most used

“Our partnership with Vive is an example of how MBI has focused on growth by creating innovative and integrated crop management solutions for growers of a wide range of crops,” says Kevin Hammill, chief commercial officer for Marrone Bio Innovations. “These next-generation BioUnite™ products will not only give U.S. growers access to effective crop protection technology,” Hammill continues, “but will also allow them to better manage their crops by harnessing the power of biologicals with the performance of chemistry.” Regulatory approval for AZterknot FC is expected in mid-2021 and will be available through distributor and retail commercial channels in the United States.

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Langlade Agricultural Research Station Holds Virtual Field Day Researchers made presentations via Zoom for growers who depend on the information By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater With in-person field days restricted due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Langlade Agricultural Research Station (LARS) hosted a virtual meeting featuring presentations by University of Wisconsin (UW) researchers and agronomists via Zoom and teleconference, July 23, 2020. The virtual meeting was coordinated by Cole Lubinski, UW-Madison Division of Extension, Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program and LARS manager. The Zoom meeting and 42 BC�T September

teleconference gave Wisconsin potato and vegetable growers information they need to make informed decisions about their crops, from planting to harvest, and storing to shipping. Amanda Gevens, chair, associate professor and extension specialist, UW-Madison Department of Plant Pathology, provided potato disease updates and summer of 2020 research. She explained that the UW-Madison diagnostic clinic is open, but instead of having in-person samples brought

Above: During the Langlade Agricultural Research Station (LARS) virtual field day, Mike Copas, chairman of the WPVGA SpudPro Committee, said, “We had our first normal start to the growing season in last three years. Planting was on schedule in our fields, but then we had a fairly good patch of cold weather, which delayed emergence.” Copas is shown in front of potato plots at LARS, in 2017.

to the office, they can be mailed or delivered by a collaborating researcher. The clinic is functioning. Gevens noted that, as of the Zoom meeting, late blight of potato had not been detected in Wisconsin this season. Since then, on August 10, the US-23 strain was confirmed on potato in Adams County. The lesions, on leaves and stems, were found on very few plants in one isolated area, and appropriate crop elimination steps were taken. There have been no other reports of late blight on potato in Wisconsin.

National reports are down as well. Conditions were right for late blight to happen, so it was important to apply preventative fungicide.

It is important, she stressed, to know what you have in those fungicide mixes and account for them in a management plan.

Another wide-spread disease common in Wisconsin this year is blackleg. A few fields showed minor signs of the disease, and some more aggressive. Diagnostics on infections this summer reveal a variety of pathogens causing blackleg.

Russell L. Groves, UW-Madison Department of Entomology, went over projects people in his lab are working on regarding leafhoppers and transmission dynamics, establishment of colony habitats in and out of fields, as well as insects increasing risk of salmonella.

“When we have wet weather,” Gevens noted, “we see flare-ups of blackleg, and in the instances that I saw, they were from a seedborne source.” SEED-APPLIED FUNGICIDE Gevens mentioned the work her team has been doing with seedapplied fungicide for rhizoctonia and silver scurf to prevent resistance. She said there is quite a range of fungicide action groups and good opportunity to mix and be creative in managing disease at planting.

There has been an outbreak of salmonella in many states and experts have not learned the source of it yet. Other projects in the Groves lab include contaminants of groundwater and what the agricultural sources might be, understanding genomic elements responsible for resistance, and resistance of beetles and rootworm in corn. With collaborating partners, Groves is looking at the phenology of potatoes

and applied research in evaluating RNA interference to knock out genes in insects. “Within two years, we feel like we’ll have a registered biologic that, when sprayed on the crop, insects eat it, and in the case of the Colorado beetle, it knocks out a critical gene and the insects die,” Groves said. “There really isn’t a lot of new development in targeting Colorado potato beetle, other than this work with double-stranded RNA,” he explained. Groves ended with a summarization of a risk model across eight different aphid species that have unique transmission characteristics, as well as an explanation of paraffinic oil application. Jed Colquhoun, professor and Integrated Pest Management program director and extension continued on pg. 44


BC�T September 43

Langlade Agricultural Research Station Holds Virtual Field Day . . . continued from pg. 43

specialist, UW-Madison Department of Horticulture, shared alternative crop research, potential new herbicides for potatoes and work on plant growth regulators to enhance potato emergence and competitiveness. SUPPLEMENTAL CROPS Colquhoun said Wisconsin is running out of profitable crops to supplement the cranberry and vegetable portfolio. His team is researching a wide variety of crops and potential uses and market developments.

one product in particular, and plants did emerge quicker, but mid-season were about the same size as those without the growth regulators. These hormones, he remarked, are OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) approved products and could affect total growth of potato, tuber set and size growth. Colquhoun also sits on the Fruit and Vegetable Committee of the Department of Natural Resources Nitrate Technical Advisory Committee.

A second project at LARS involves investigating potential new herbicides and application methods. He asked, “How much herbicide can we apply and still get good crop tolerance? How low can we go? How much is really needed to control weeds, and can we reduce the amount?”

The group is hoping to develop and implement a technical standard through the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to develop a nutrient management plan that details how much nitrogen can be used in nitrate performance standards.

A third project is looking to enhance germination of potato seed so it emerges quicker and more consistently, with no gaps in the field open to weed competition.

In giving research updates on her lab’s potato production program, Yi Wang, assistant professor and extension specialist, UW-Madison Department of Horticulture, said the growing season went well except for poor emergence in some chipping and russet varieties.

Plant growth regulators as seed treatments on standard Burbanks, Colquhoun noted, are interesting and vastly increase stem number with 44 BC�T September

“The issues we were having are

Left: In giving research updates on her lab’s potato production program, Yi Wang, assistant professor and extension specialist, UW-Madison Department of Horticulture, said the growing season went well except for poor emergence in some chipping and russet varieties. Wang is shown at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station, June 2020. Right: Cole Lubinski, Langlade Agricultural Research Station (LARS) manager, speaks at the 2020 Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association annual meeting. With in-person field days restricted due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, Lubinski coordinated the LARS virtual meeting.

everywhere, seed emergence, low emergence, herbicide damage, and maybe seed quality or soil conditions, though those seem normal,” Wang said. “After planting, we got really cold temperatures,” she added, “below freezing. That might be one problem, but a crop next to ours at the Hancock Agricultural Research Station [HARS] got good emergence despite the cold.” DICKEYA & BLACKLEG Another thing Wang’s group noticed, since mid-June, is that some varieties had Dickeya and blackleg problems.

The Hancock staff has been spraying. “Amanda [Gevens] and I are considering a joint project later to see if healthier tubers are more resistant to disease,” Wang stated. “We’d start with standard varieties such as Burbank, Silverton, etc.” Another research priority, Yi noted, is a remote sensing project her staff is undertaking in the field with Phil Townsend, using machine learning to predict potato crop status. “We’re using hyperspectral remote sensing during the growing season,” she related. “Right now, our work on potatoes includes tuber bulking and yield potential for different nitrogen applications. The trial is being conducted at Hancock.”

potato production, an area with great potential for development in the near future, to become more efficient,” Wang surmised, “although there are some weather limitations when pilots can fly, and questions of when to extract data from a large data set.” Now cameras are expensive, but technology will make it reasonable in near future, she predicted. Wang’s program has also been testing water from a well that irrigates crops at HARS, collecting samples every 30, 60 and 120 minutes when the irrigation system is turned on. In addition, her team is collaborating with commercial potato producers on the project.

Similar work with remote sensing and machine learning on such crops as snap beans and sweet corn is a future goal.

So far, testing indicates there has not been a big difference of nitrate level in groundwater no matter how long the irrigation system has been running, at HARS or in commercial potato fields.

“We can use those technologies in

Is there a need to take real-time


nitrogen credits from groundwater? Wang said her team will keep testing until the end of the growing season and will be able to provide updates at the 2021 WPVGA Education Conference & Industry Show. PLANTING ON SCHEDULE Mike Copas, senior agronomist, RPE, Inc., and chairman of the WPVGA SpudPro Committee, said, “We had our first normal start to the growing season in the last three years, planting on schedule in our fields, but then we had a fairly good patch of cold weather, with delayed emergence.” “We had potatoes that were 30 to 45 days from planting to emergence, and some 50 days after planting,” Copas added. “There might be a dormancy issue.” “We had a generous number of acres put in before Easter, and those seed pieces experienced 30-degree continued on pg. 46

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Langlade Agricultural Research Station Holds Virtual Field Day . . . continued from pg. 45

temperatures afterward. They came through it, but with rather extended emergence. We may have imposed secondary dormancy with low temperatures. There’s a lot of variability,” he remarked. Black leg has impacted commercial fields to varying degrees, Copas noted, though most of those fields tested negative for Dickeya, which was a big concern. “A second thing we’re seeing is frequency of leaching rain events, probably six at this point,” Copas related. “It’s variable to a great degree, with certain fields a quarterinch or less, and at the same time, two to four miles away, an inch and a half in the same storm.” Plover Russet, Copas noted, has been planted on five farms in Wisconsin and in a field in Colorado. “There is interest here in Plover Russet,” he said. “Right now, we’re 50-60 days after emergence and are tracking canopy. Target populations have been good. And our tuber populations are right where we hoped they would be—11 tubers per plant for Plover Russet. Everything seems to be on schedule.” Copas said his team notates every emergence date on every plant they plant at LARS. “It’s paying off in what we’re seeing and understanding about physiology of seed,” he concluded. “We’re trying to predict stem set, tuber set and targeted management, tracking dormancy release, the dormancy period and noting on an individual tuber basis when they break dormancy. Dormancy has a tight grip on variety development.” UW nutrient and pest management extension specialist, Jamie Patton, and his team are conducting an evaluation of oat, pearl millet and sorghum-sudangrass cover crops on parasitic nematode populations and 46 BC�T September

soil health in northern Wisconsin. LIME TRIAL Kevin Gallenberg, a crop scouting supervisor for AgSource laboratories, said his team is collaborating with Valley Agricultural Software on a lime trial at LARS, in Antigo, evaluating liming and soil pH. Growers, he said, like to keep soil pH at 5 or 5.5 in the fields, or lower, to decrease the chance of scab in the field, but it is difficult to grow rotational crops at those pH levels. The trial involves a baseline pH and different liming rates. Alex Crockford, program director of the Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program (WSPCP), gave an update on a clonal garden he and Lubinski have been maintaining with some of the hundreds of potato clones the State Farm maintains. “There are close to 300 clones we produce. Every four to five years, we reinitiate all the tissue cultures we have on campus, grow them in pots, select clean tubers from the greenhouse, and they are tested again,” Crockford explained. “We look at them for trueness to type, tuber shape and disease,” he noted. “Those will be the next clones we use, and we share them across the country with other programs that ask us for clean clones of certain varieties. I think there are 240 or so potato clones that are in production out there now.” As far as Wisconsin’s certified seed potato crop, planting got started early in fields in Mountain, Sterling and downstate, and the bulk of potatoes got planted in a fairly narrow window, which made for some busy inspectors in late June. Crockford estimated that it is an average crop. “We had a below average amount of viruses in the field last summer, and now we’re seeing what made it through to foundation,”

During the LARS virtual meeting, Alex Crockford updated growers and other Zoom and teleconference attendees on the Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program and its initiatives. Crockford is shown speaking at the 2020 annual meeting of the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association.

he related. “So, there are no or very few surprises in what we’re seeing, which is overall a good-looking crop.” After a hot June, it was exceedingly wet in Antigo and Rhinelander, and Crockford’s group has seen the crop beat down a bit more, including stem damage, which will lead to some aerial stem rot and more black leg. “As far as comparison,” he remarked, “we probably sent 20-30 less samples thus far this year to the lab for blackleg diagnostics than in 2019. I’m not saying it’s a better year for blackleg, because we are seeing Dickeya in the same amount of seed lots as in previous years, and severity is similar to previous years.” With travel restrictions to Hawaii, the WSPCP had to rebid winter crop testing, in a one-year bid, and will be in south Florida for that growing season. “We’re optimistic about that due to experiences of the North Dakota program with the cooperator down there,” Crockford says. “I’m hoping that this is a one-year thing and we’ll be back to Hawaii, as it is a better place to work with diagnostic testing. We can get samples back to the lab in one day there.”

Now News Federal Payments Available for Prairie Strip Planting Landowners who install conservation strips eligible for governmental funding Sand County Foundation’s Agricultural Conservation team touts the benefits of prairie strips on farms and the availability of federal payments for planting them.

(Natural Resources Conservation Service) practice standards:

Strips of native plants offer rich biodiversity, and their deep roots reduce erosion. Keeping nutrients on farm fields and out of streams benefits the environment and crop production.

• 393 Filter Strip

Great news: Landowners who install conservation strips are now eligible for federal conservation payments.

• In terrace channels

CP-43 Prairie Strips is a new practice under the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Clean Lakes, Estuaries and Rivers (CLEAR) Initiative.

For more information, contact your local service center and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency office: https://www.

The prairie strips practice establishes diverse perennial vegetation, oriented linearly within row crops fields. Prairie strips may not exceed 25 percent of the cropland area per field and range from 30-120 feet in width.

• 327 Conservation Cover • 332 Contour Grass Strip • 386 Field Border Where can Prairie Strips be placed? In row crop production systems: • Around the field • Through the field • Next to waterways • Pivot corners

continued on pg. 48

Machinery traffic is allowed on locations that replace turn rows on the perimeter of the field, but they do not qualify as travel lanes. Prairie strips reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and provide wildlife habitat. A conservation planner can work with a client to establish perennial vegetation in locations to reduce erosion and intercept water flow, while making it farmable. Planners use a combination of NRCS BC�T September 47

Now News . . . continued from pg. 47

Water Stewards Course Offered Online Six-module conservation and management instruction includes CCA credits The University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension is offering an online Water Stewards Training Program. extension-articles/. The course is also available on the CANVAS platform within the UW-Madison website.

The six module, self-guided course focuses mainly on agricultural water quantity issues and sustainable strategies to mitigate loss or waste.

The six modules include:

Water quality is also discussed in many of the modules since water quantity and quality are interconnected.

• Module 1: Basic terms and principals of water conservation in agriculture • Module 2: Water management in Wisconsin, overall water levels, natural landscapes and agricultural use, and on-farm management of landscapes

Six certified crop advisor (CCA) credits are available to participants upon completion of the course, four for soil and water, and two for sustainability.

• Module 3: New approaches to optimize water use

To access the online Water Stewards Training Program, visit https://

• Module 4: Managing irrigation to optimize water use

•M odule 5: Modeling water use, approaches and practices •M odule 6: Implementing water conservation The online course (https://uwveggies. is funded by the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Program. Dr. Yi Wang serves as the leading PI (principal investigator) of the course. Dr. Deana Knuteson (dknuteson@ is the course moderator. If you would like to receive CCA credits for the course, please contact Deana to sign up.

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Nutrien Ag Solutions Acquires Agbridge Acquisition helps build out company’s digital agriculture portfolio By Margy Eckelkamp, reprinted with permission of Farm Journal’s “The Scoop” Nutrien Ag Solutions continues to build out its digital agriculture portfolio with the recent acquisition of Agbridge, a hardware company focused on wireless data sharing. The acquisition helps serve Nutrien Ag Solutions’ goal of making “hard things easier,” says Sol Goldfarb, head of digital at Nutrien Ag Solutions, who notes this is the first hardware acquisition during his tenure at the company focused on digital agronomy. The Agbridge technology will be used on Nutrien Ag Solutions application equipment. One unique aspect of its product is that data can be transferred via Wi-Fi or cellular connections, and if a connection is not present, the data is stored until one is available to complete the transfer. “We were looking for a solution for our own application fleet, which includes equipment from many companies,” Goldfarb says. “The Agbridge technology works on a variety of farm equipment brands, which is important,” he adds, “and having it for our branches, the Agbridge devices installed on equipment across our application fleet will allow for consistency in training and troubleshooting.” The acquisition will also streamline how Nutrien Ag Solutions crop advisers receive and send data. ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS “It’s up to folks like us to make data usable for the grower,” Goldfarb says. “We have to be equipped to help growers keep track of all the activity on their farm with high fidelity and be able to take data and turn it into actionable insights.”

Digital agriculture has been a focus at Nutrien, particularly in the past three years after CEO Chuck Magro announced the company would spend $100 million every year on development.

example, with our crop planning tool we launched this year, crop advisers can make a field recommendation for a fungicide and then quickly duplicate that recommendation across multiple fields.”

This year, the company says digital sales of products account for 10 percent of total sales, but for products available to purchase online, digital sales equate to 40 percent.

He notes digital development at Nutrien Ag Solutions is rooted in user-center design. While customers found bill paying at the online portal helpful, they provided feedback that led the digital team to add a new scheduled bill pay feature earlier this year.

Goldfarb says acquisitions have been and will continue to be part of the company’s growth in digital agriculture. But he also indicates the company is looking at organically developed digital solutions it can deliver to the retail network and customers. “Our growth with online portal use is explosive because our employees find growing benefit in the digital tools we build for them,” he explains. “For

“As we’ve seen more engagement with product purchasing and bill payment on the digital portal, we’ve also seen more use of the weather information and market information we provide,” Goldfarb relates. “So, it really is a rising tide that lifts all boats.” continued on pg. 50 BC�T September 49

Now News . . . continued from pg. 49

RPE Inc. Announces Partnership with How2Recycle® Grower/shipper to roll out labels on select packaging over next several months As a category leader and key grower/ shipper of year-round potatoes and onions, RPE, Inc., in partnership with Tasteful Selections®, is pleased to announce a new partnership with How2Recycle.

concise labels.

How2Recycle is a standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to consumers. It involves a coalition of forward-thinking brands that want packaging to be recycled and are empowering consumers through

“This new partnership with How2Recycle aligns with RPE’s and Tasteful Selections’ sustainable initiatives to help reduce and eliminate waste,” says Tim Huffcutt, vice president of sales and marketing operations.

RPE, Inc. will roll out the new How2Recycle labels on Tasteful Selections packaging over the course of the next several months.

We're committed to helping you through each and every season. Valley® service teams are trained to prepare your machine for any weather conditions, and know what your irrigation system needs to stay ready. Schedule your Valley-certified preventative maintenance check today.

“With the knowledge and welldepicted recycling information from How2Recycle, our packaging will now provide our consumers with the best information to assist in making informed choices regarding their bitesize potato packaging recyclability,” Huffcutt relates. RPE, Inc. and Tasteful Selections are eager to begin their partnership with How2Recycle—together improving consumer experience and knowledge with recycling.

VALLEY® PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE Ensure your irrigation equipment will be ready for the growing season and avoid mid-season breakdowns. Valley® Preventative Maintenance goes beyond Valley machines as we can maintain all pivot brands and provide drive train, electrical, control panel and sprinkler upgrades.


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7.708” x 5”

Potatoes USA News

Workshop Boosts Potato Sales in Japan Japanese consumers were treated to an online cooking workshop in which they tempted their taste buds with mouthwatering U.S. potato recipes. Potatoes USA partnered with a popular Japanese online retailer,

Cotta, to inspire consumers to cook with frozen and dehydrated potato products. Consumers learned how to make gnocchi with meat sauce, potato quiche and candied shoestring potatoes.

The results were impressive. The workshop was viewed more than 68,000 times, and Cotta reported an increase in U.S. potato product sales, with dehydrated potato flake sales up nearly 50 percent over the same time last year.

U.S. Potato Exports Strong Despite Pandemic U.S. potato exports for the July 2019June 2020 marketing year (MY20), were slightly below the previous year’s record levels. The decline is attributed to the losses in sales from March-June due to the reduction in demand caused by the global pandemic. U.S. exports started the marketing year strong and were above MY19 levels through February. Exports began to decline in March, with the largest reductions in June. However, many countries in Asia are now reopening and product that was stockpiled when restaurants and other establishments started closing in February is now being drawn down. It is expected that, while exports for July and August will be below year-over-year levels, the reductions should not be as great as they were in May and June.

The volume of U.S. exports of frozen potato products was down 4.29 percent for the marketing year. The declines were relatively evenly dispersed across markets, but of note were declines of 27 percent to China, 17 percent to Vietnam, 13 percent to Central America and 7 percent to the Philippines. SOLID EXPORT NUMBERS On the positive side, exports to Mexico were up 12 percent due to the recovery from significant losses the previous year from the 20 percent retaliatory tariff. Exports to Taiwan (which managed to avoid any significant COVID related restrictions) were up 7 percent, Thailand up 6 percent and Japan up 1 percent. The volume of U.S. dehydrated potato exports managed to end the year up .77 percent. Significant declines of 24 percent to Thailand, 19 percent to the Philippines, 11 percent to Taiwan,

and 24 percent to Central America were offset by a 31 percent increase to the European Union, a 23 percent increase to northern Africa and the Middle East and a 31 percent increase to South Korea. The volume of U.S. fresh potato exports dropped 3.67 percent for the marketing year due to a 5 percent decline to Canada, a 3 percent decline to Mexico, a 31 percent decline to Japan and a 45 percent decline to Korea. Increases to several other markets helped make up for these declines, notably a 60 percent increase to the Philippines, a 34 percent increase to Taiwan, a 25 percent increase to Malaysia and a 45 percent increase to Costa Rica. Fresh potato exports include table and chip stock, as well as potatoes destined for frozen processing in Canada. BC�T September 51

Badger Beat Why PVY Spread is a Concern for all Potato Growers By By Paul Bethke, U.S. Department of Agriculture and University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Erin Weber, Carthage College

Potato Virus Y (PVY) is a long-standing concern of the potato

industry. PVY-infected seed potatoes produce plants that yield poorly and serve as a source of inoculum for current-season spread of the virus to other plants. The effects of current-season PVY infection on the harvested crop have received relatively little attention. Recent research, however, indicates that current-season infection with PVY may depress yield and affect processing quality. These findings demonstrate the value of management practices that reduce the spread of PVY in the potato crop. Potato vines produced from virusfree seed tubers can acquire PVY during the growing season. Does this matter? For seed growers, the answer is an emphatic “yes,” but what about for other growers? What

are the consequences of currentseason PVY spread for them? We and others have explored this question and have found that current-season PVY infection is costly to all potato growers. YIELD REDUCTION Potatoes infected with PVY during the growing season often yield less than uninfected plants. In one study with

Dr. Paul Bethke, University of WisconsinMadison Department of Horticulture, discusses drone-based imaging for agriculture at the 2019 Grower Education Conference & Industry Show, Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

30 potato varieties grown over two years, yield was measured for plants that remained virus free and those that became infected with PVY during the growing season. Current-season PVY infection decreased yield on average 33 percent, 15 percent and 16 percent for strains PVYO, PVYN:O and PVYNTN, respectively. PVYO was historically the most common strain of PVY. However, in Wisconsin, and in many parts of North America, recombinant strains of PVY, including PVYN-Wi and PVYN:O are most common now.

The diagram illustrates the effects of current-season PVY infection on yield, tuber specific gravity and chip color. Current-season PVY infection can decrease yield and lower specific gravity. Potatoes with lower specific gravity use more oil for chip processing. PVY infection of potato plants has little effect on chip appearance. Summary of findings from Weber, Busse and Bethke, Plant Disease (2020), in publication 52 BC�T September

We looked at the effect of early PVY infection on yield and chip processing quality of Snowden, Lamoka and Atlantic potato varieties. PVYN-Wi reduced yield of Atlantic, Snowden and Lamoka by an average of 16 percent. Yield reductions were also observed with PVYO. Furthermore, infection

with PVYO decreased specific gravity of Snowden and Lamoka. PVYN-Wi decreased tuber specific gravity for Snowden and Atlantic. PVY infection, however, did not affect fried chip color or the severity of stem-end chip defects. Potato plants were infected when they were young, or in early growth stages, in the chipping potato research described above. Is this a reasonable approach? After all, the aphids that transmit PVY between plants are most abundant later in the year. Two lines of evidence suggest that early season infection may be an underappreciated concern. First, many potato varieties are much more susceptible to PVY infection when they are young compared to when they are older. As they grow, potato plants acquire resistance to PVY infection, and this makes it harder for them to become infected.

An illustration depicts how the change in PVY resistance observed in some potato varieties affects the likelihood of virus infection. Young plants have low resistance and are much more susceptible to PVY infection (blue bars) than older plants. Figure created from data presented by Chikh-Ali, Tran, Price and Karasev, Plant Disease (2020) 104:269-275.

For example, when young Yukon Gold plants were inoculated with PVYNTN, 100 percent of the plants showed symptoms and yield was 70 percent less than that of controls. One month later, only 10 percent of plants became infected, and yield

was comparable to that of controls. Remembering this change in PVY resistance, from low resistance when potatoes are young to high resistance later, is helpful when considering how PVY is spread by aphids. continued on pg. 54

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BADGER BEAT . . . continued from pg. 53

A small number of early season aphids could have as large an effect on infection as many late season aphids. Data from field trials also show that early season infection by PVY is a concern. Management strategies designed to minimize current-season PVY spread are most effective when they begin early. Extensive research conducted in New Brunswick, Canada, showed that a combination of oil and insecticide spray was effective at controlling PVY spread, especially when the treatments began early. How early? The greatest protection was provided when sprays started at 50 percent emergence. Aphids are attracted to the contrast in color between bare soil and foliage. It may be that some aphids are drawn to potato fields as the plants emerge. The amount of PVY in seed is best indicated by the winter test for the seed lot. Quality seed destined for the fresh, chip and fry markets typically contains a small amount of PVY, with a few percent of tubers testing positive for the virus. How much PVY is present in a production field at the end of the growing season? A wide range of values have been reported. EXTENSIVE PVY SPREAD In one study that looked at 19 commercial fields in New Brunswick, current season spread of PVY ranged from 0 to 76 percent. Fields without detectable PVY in seed showed far less PVY spread, an average of 3 percent, compared to fields with .8 to 5.8 percent detectable PVY in seed, where there was an average of 15 percent spread. In another study, where seedborne infection of Russet Burbank and Goldrush was 2.3 to 3.1 percent, average current-season spread of PVY was 38 percent virus-infected plants for Goldrush and 21 percent infected for Russet Burbank. 54 BC�T September

It seems likely that in most production areas, with the exception of isolated seed growing regions, end of season PVY infection rates are substantially greater than the rate present in the planted seed. The extent will depend on how much PVY is in the seed locally and regionally, as well as on the timing and abundance of insect vectors that transmit the virus. Seed potato growers are familiar with the potential economic cost of current-season PVY spread. Seed lots that don’t make certification lose value. What are the potential costs for other potato growers? Are they large enough to be a concern? As described above, one consequence of current-season PVY infection may be a reduction of yield from infected plants. A back-of-theenvelope calculation can give us a sense for the cost associated with this yield loss. Let’s say PVY-infected plants yield 20 percent less than healthy plants, and that 10 percent of the potatoes in a field become infected. The yield loss across the whole field would be 2 percent. If your field yields 500 cwt. (hundredweight) per acre, this amounts to 10 cwt. per acre in lost yield. If you sell potatoes at $11 per cwt., current-season PVY infection costs you $110 per acre. For chipping potatoes, the cost may be larger if a reduction in specific gravity results in a change in price paid. PVY REMAINS A CONCERN PVY remains a concern for potato growers. For years, seed potato growers have considered the costs associated with current-season PVY infection and have adopted management strategies to minimize spread to seed tubers. For other growers, current-season PVY infection may impose costs related to lost yield, reduced specific gravity or defects in external appearance.

Current season spread of PVY depends on the amount of virus in the seed (planted PVY) and management. Fields planted with no detectable PVY (0 percent planted) had less virus spread than those planted with some PVY in the seed (>0 percent). Management with mineral oil and insecticide sprays further reduced the spread of PVY. Data from MacKenzie, Nie, and Singh, Am. J. Potato Res (2016) 93:552–563.

The extent of these problems varies with potato variety and PVY strain, as well as the timing of infection. Aggressive PVY management, however, may not be justified on economic grounds for most growers. Instead, this simple advice remains the best management approach for all growers. Plant certified seed with a low amount a PVY. When possible, make decisions based on data from postharvest laboratory tests since they are more accurate than data from summer inspections. Less PVY in the seed reduces current season spread of the virus and lessens the adverse effects of PVY on the crop. Additional information and data are available via the following: Chikh-Ali, Tran, Price and Karasev (2020) Plant Disease 104:269-275. MacKenzie, Nie, Bisht, and Singh, M. (2019) Plant Disease 103:2221–2230. MacKenzie, Lavoie, Nie, and Singh, M. (2018) American Journal of Potato Research 95:301– 310. MacKenzie, Nie, and Singh. (2016) American Journal of Potato Research 93:552–563. MacKenzie, Nie, and Singh. (2013) Plant Disease 93:213 - 222. Weber, Busse and Bethke. (2020) Plant Disease, in publication.

Auxiliary News By Devin Zarda, vice president, WPGA

The Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary (WPGA) held its annual meeting, in June, reelecting incumbent Board of Directors members Devin Zarda (vice president) and Brittany Bula for their second three-year terms. Thus, the WPGA Board of Directors remains the same for the 2020-2021 term. They are, from left to right, Brittany Bula, Devin Zarda, Deniell Bula, Jody Baginski, Marie Reid, Kathy Bartsch (president) and Datonn Hanke (secretary/treasurer).

Hello, friends! Welcome to

the next chapter in, “What does 2020 hold for us?” Back in June, the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary (WPGA) held its annual meeting. We, the Board, went back and forth on what to do because we wanted to respect people’s decisions to be socially distant. So, we held the meeting in a brand-new brewery—Backcountry Brewing in Plover, Wisconsin—that had not been open to the public yet. Because of the size of this location, we were able to socially distance. We also provided hand sanitizer at every table. We attempted to run the annual meeting via Zoom for

those who could not make it, but we encountered internet issues. Since the Annual Banquet was not held, we are planning on doing something for our members once it is safe to get back together. As of now, we are not planning on having any membership events for the next few months, but this is a fluid situation. We want to keep everyone safe and respect different responses to the current situation. We did hold our elections for the WPGA Board of Directors, and incumbent members Brittany Bula and I were reelected to our second three-year terms. Both of us are excited to help serve all within this

amazing organization. Don’t worry, the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary is not going anywhere. We have simply had to hit the pause button on many of our charitable and educational causes because we are not able to gather or hold our events in the traditional sense. We are reviewing how we can morph or pivot our programs to fit into the current climate of the pandemic. Keep an eye on future Auxiliary News columns, as I will be explaining some of these changes. Talk with you soon,


BC�T September 55

Rethink the Potato for Sustainable Use Food waste can be combatted through efficient grading and repurposing of the potato By Thomas Molnar, vice president, head of global sales, TOMRA Food Sorting We must change how we handle our resources. A rapidly growing population, increased demand for produce and the threat of climate change bring with them risks to the food supply chain, and new approaches must be looked at to ensure a sustainable future. Perhaps often overlooked within the food crisis, though, is the potato, which has long been a popular staple of westernized diets and is now rising to prominence within new, emerging markets. Burgeoning demand is good for producers and processors, but is this increase from consumers feasible and 56 BC�T September

stable with the current global state? A huge part of society’s diet for the last 400 years, the popularity of potato shows no sign of slowing down. According to the latest figures, it’s estimated that 427,907,330 tons of potatoes are produced annually, with China and India combined accounting for a third of all harvested potatoes. The total value of the products is approximately to $90-$100 billion. However, this current trend shows how the potato market has changed over recent years. In the early 1990s, most potatoes were grown and consumed across European and North American markets.

Since then, however, there has been a huge rise in production within markets such as South America, Africa and Asia. A RICE & WHEAT ALTERNATIVE Emerging markets are repositioning the potato as an alternative to rice and wheat, thanks to its nutritional value and being more sustainable to grow. China is particularly doing this to help feed the world’s largest population due to the pressures of growing less water-intensive crops. Studies suggest Above: Within potato production, sustainability is key. To protect resources, we must ensure that yields are optimized, and waste is reduced as much as possible.

that growing potatoes requires 30 percent less water than rice, and also returns a higher yield per acre. The range of uses for potatoes has also instigated its rise in popularity, especially processed potato products. The likes of frozen French fries and potato chips are becoming consumed more, with 15-20 percent of the total crop harvested in China alone being used for processed potato goods, a figure which is increasing annually. An ever-increasing population, partnered with diets of developing markets changing, has also fueled the rise in demand for potatoes over the last decade. Although the increase in demand is a positive sign for the industry, it can also create challenges in terms of ensuring there is an availability of harvests. Climate change is a huge global concern, touching all industries and

Emerging markets are repositioning the potato as an alternative to rice and wheat, thanks to the spud’s nutritional value and being more sustainable to grow.

sectors, and comes as a massive threat to the quality and overall yield of potatoes. CLIMATE CHANGE The unpredictability of weather

conditions can impact how, where and when crops can be grown, due to the changes in which are caused to the land and climate. continued on pg. 58

continued on pg. 62


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BC�T September 57

Rethink the Potato for Sustainable Use . . . continued from pg. 57

In a time when optimized yields are integral to meeting demand, we need to be more reactive in the field and find new ways to manage production in a destabilized environment. A recent example of where climate change impacted potato yields was during the summer of 2018, when large droughts hit Europe. Potato production in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom dropped due to the unusually extreme heat and lack of rain, with the harvest declining by around 30 percent on average. However, in contrast, other markets have seen such bumper harvests in recent times that they haven’t been able to handle the sheer amount of produce.

In both instances, there has to be a change in the behavior of the supply chain to deal with potential ELSON’S

TECH-BASED SOLUTIONS Dynamic technology-based solutions must be implemented to ensure any crop is grown as sustainably as possible to meet the growing demand for potatoes from an ever-increasing population.

There will always be a want for high quality produce, but a change in consumer trends, behavior and preferences is helping the industry’s supply chain to re-evaluate its production process. It must become more flexible and agile to meet the characteristics desired by the customer.

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circumstances and optimize yields as much as possible.

Consumers are the biggest drivers of change within all sectors and industries, and the potato industry is no exception.

In 2017, India’s largest potato production region saw such a harvest that producers and farmers couldn’t handle the crop, leaving large amounts wasted due to limited infrastructure.


“A huge part of society’s diet for the last 400 years, the popularity of potato shows no sign of slowing down.” – Thomas Molnar








Take the potato chip as an example. Brands have stringent requirements on the potatoes they will use, based on knowing what the customer wants. For potato chips, they must be round or oval, be no more than 2.95 inches in length, and have less than a quarter dry matter to make the potato chip look more appealing to the customer. French fry brands have requirements, too. To ensure there is no darkened end once fried, which can be undesirable to the consumer, there must be a reduced sugar content of .25 percent. SORTING MACHINES The answer to meeting these requirements is through technology. By adopting innovative potato sorting machines utilizing optical technology, areas such as toxins, defects and the overall size of the produce can be detected early in the supply chain and allow the customer to get the type of potato desired. This, in turn, helps reduce the pressure on producers, as they can both optimize yields and deliver high quality through harnessing the power of sorting systems. Within potato production, sustainability is key. To protect resources, we must ensure that yields are optimized, and waste is reduced as much as possible. Customer demands, expectations and requirements mean potato sorting and grading machines become an integral part of the supply chain and help allow for any potential defected produce to be repurposed. Especially with processed potato goods, where the market is seeing

new products being released, finding alternative uses for a potato that doesn’t make the grade for one use can be done efficiently. Grading technologies such as Near Infrared (NIR) can help the supply chain select specific potatoes for certain uses at any stage based on the suitability. In a working example, a potato may be graded by the sorting machine and be deemed unsuitable for use as a French fry due to a defect. This doesn’t mean it has to be totally removed from the supply chain, but an alternative purpose can be found. HASH BROWNS Once the defect has been removed, the potato can be “scaled down” from its use as a French fry to, if quality allows, a hash brown or novelty children’s potato product. Any potatoes that were once graded as waste can now be used to support a producer’s bottom line, which not

only cuts back on food loss, but also improves sustainability of the supply chain. At TOMRA, our innovative potato sorting machines are designed with making the most out of a harvest in mind and guarantee the removal of discoloration, defects, bruises and rot. Our sorting solutions can sort by defects, biological characteristics, shape and size, structure, color, density and foreign materials to help producers increase yields and quality of produce for customers. The planet is facing challenges. The ever-growing population and climate change will pose questions on how we grow, produce and process resources, and the potato industry is no exception to this. With a global increase in demand, potato production must adapt to maximize its value, optimize yields and increase the quality of produce

Dynamic technology-based solutions must be implemented to ensure any crop is grown as sustainably as possible to meet the growing demand for potatoes from an ever-increasing population.

through the use of technology solutions. About TOMRA Food TOMRA Food designs and manufactures sensor-based sorting machines and integrated post-harvest solutions for the food industry, using the world’s most advanced grading, sorting, peeling and analytical technology. Over 8,000 units are installed at food growers, packers and processors around the world for fruits, nuts, vegetables, potato products, grains and seeds, dried fruit, meat and seafood. For further information about TOMRA, please see



As agriculture has evolved, the nature of the industry has become more complex and regulated. At Ruder Ware our attorneys act as legal counsel for producers and businesses providing products and services for the agriculture industry, and partner with a client’s current trusted advisors, such as accountants and lenders. Contact us today to see how our team approach yields the best results for your farm or business.

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BC�T September 59

NPC News NPC Hosts Virtual Agency Tour

Presenters discussed weeds, bacteria, nematodes, fungi and insects More than 160 participants joined the National Potato Council (NPC) virtual Agency Tour, held the week of July 20, gaining a better understanding of the pest challenges faced by farmers across the nation in growing and delivering potatoes to market. Participants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and throughout the potato industry were provided information on pest management related to growing seed and in the pre-plant, planting, in-field and post-harvest stages. Presenters included growers, extension educators and researchers from across the country touching on weeds, bacteria, nematodes, fungi and insects. The annual tour was scheduled for the San Luis Valley this year, but due to the pandemic became a virtual event. VIRTUAL NATURE OF EVENT While missing one-on-one interactions, the virtual nature of the event allowed NPC to expand

the number of attendees from EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) and broaden the offering to include staff from the USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program. “We truly appreciate the support of all who were willing to be a part of the program, including those who provided presentations on the key pests impacting the industry,” says Dominic LaJoie, NPC vice president

of environmental affairs. “Based on the feedback, we’re confident attendees walked away with a deeper understanding of the complexities around producing a high-quality, high-cost potato crop for U.S. consumers and those around the globe in an environmentallyresponsible manner,” LaJoie states. The annual event is hosted by the National Potato Council and sponsored by Potatoes USA.

NPC Calls for Tax Changes to PPC On August 3, the NPC joined 171 business and trade groups in a letter asking for Congress to restore tax-free loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The groups note that “when the PPP was adopted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress made clear that any loan forgiveness under 60 BC�T September

the program would be excluded from the borrower’s taxable income.” However, a recent Internal Revenue Service notice effectively overturned this policy by denying borrowers the ability to deduct the same expenses that qualified them for the loan forgiveness. Denying the correct tax treatment of PPP loans will result in hardship for

many of the more than five million businesses that participated in the program. The groups call on Congress to reaffirm the congressional intent regarding the tax treatment of these forgiven loan amounts and “restore the tax benefits it intended to give distressed Main Street businesses as part of the CARES Act.”

Ali's Kitchen

The Chosen One!

Grilled Brat and Hash Brown Pizza the favorite among entries to Potatoes USA Column and photos by Ali Carter, Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary Who doesn’t love a fun challenge? When you combine that challenge with food, it’s all the more enjoyable to play along. And this is exactly what my family and I did when we were invited by Potatoes USA to create a unique pizza featuring potatoes. Many adventurous eaters entered their recipes and our pizza was chosen from the bunch! After reading through the other entries, I can imagine that the judges had a tough time settling on one winner, and I personally look forward to attempting each of the potato pizza recipes that were submitted!

DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat the grill (we used a pellet grill) to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. While your grill is heating up, lightly brush both sides of the pizza crust with olive oil. 3. Evenly spread the barbeque sauce on top of the crust and then top with the sliced mozzarella cheese, hash brown potatoes, brat pieces and red onion. 4. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese on top of the other ingredients. 5. Place the pizza directly onto the hot grill. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or continued on pg. 62


Grilled Brat and Hash Brown Pizza • 1 pre-made pizza dough • ½ cup barbeque sauce • 8 oz. ball of whole milk mozzarella, sliced • 1½ cups shredded hash brown potatoes, pan fried extra crispy • 2 bratwursts, grilled and sliced • ½ small red onion, sliced • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese • fresh basil, chopped (optional).

BC�T September 61

Ali's Kitchen. . .

Advertisers Index

continued from pg. 61

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