We're expanding our wildly popular Innovation Hub to include even more eye-opening presentations and discussions. You'll get up to speed on the latest trends, research, and issues facing the potato industry - all to help boost your business in 2019 and beyond.

Wednesday, january 9

Insights into Metam Sodium Movement in Soil: How to Improve Application Patterns

Kyle Coleman, Marketing Director, NovaSource North America

Many potato growers are sub-optimizing their applications of metam sodium because of outdated assumptions regarding both how the product travels and ways it controls pests in the soil. Researchers have revealed several interesting findings regarding the limited mobility of metam sodium when applied in soil, including: its propensity to move only within inches of where it is applied; differences in soil preparation playing an important role in impacting product movement; lack of product movement in the soil from different application methods; and, the importance of soil moisture in product movement and sealing the product. Soil fumigants have unique properties that enable them to work at various depths. For decades, a common assumption has been that fumigants move through the soil easily and equally. This re-search reveals that movement can be limited by soil type, soil preparation and moisture content.

What’s Under the Ground is Under Your Control: Understanding Nematode Management Options

Kelly Luff, Principal Scientist, Bayer CropScience

What a potato grower can’t see at planting can be painfully visible at harvest. Nematodes cause the kind of trouble that starts with imperfections, diminishing the potato’s appearance, and spreads to the grower’s profit potential. Nematodes also open the door to disease, particularly Verticillum dahlia the causal agent of potato early dying. The first step is learning which nematodes are putting pressure on a field and at what levels. The economic threshold for treatment varies across states, is specific to the species of nematode, and considers the field history. Once a grower knows what they’re up against, the next question is which option offers the safest (environmental & personal), efficacious & economically-efficient treatment. Growers should consider and put into practice several control options, including fumi-gants, nematicides, crop rotation and biofumigants.

Automated Planting-to-Processing Crop Tracking with Field and 3D Cellar Mapping
Richard Bishop, Owner/Sales Engineer, Bishtec LLC Engineering Solutions

Potato growers are looking for automated methods to record and report planting-to-processing weights, yields and other details. New technology provides exciting solutions. With specially designed scanners, transponders and position sensors, it is now possible to automatically obtain an end-to-end digital record of every move the crop makes. Data from yield monitors, scales and machine-mounted temperature sensors are easily incorporated to provide growers with clear maps and management reports. This helps visualize and quantify what was planted where, what the yields were, where it is stored, how much is stored in each cellar, when and how much was shipped and delivered, and how the various planters, harvesters, and trucks performed. Over time, data and re-ports have continuing value as they provide an on-going and growing information base for the farm offering future generations and owners a clear overview of the past and present.


Potato Sustainability Initiative: Continuous Improvement in Sustainable Potato Production

Thomas Green, Ph.D., President, The IPM Institute of North America Inc.

The Potato Sustainability Initiative is a pre-competitive collaboration of growers, grower organizations, processors, buyers and the IPM Institute of North America working to improve the sustainability of potato production and communicate continuous improvement to buyers. More than 500 growers in the U.S. and Canada participate along with six processors, McCain Foods, J.R. Simplot, Lamb-Weston, Cavendish Farms, Basic American Foods and Kraft-Heinz; two buyers, McDonald’s and Sysco; and the National Potato Council and Canadian Horticultural Council. Our survey originated from an initial request by McDonald’s in 2010 to develop a program to track pesticide use, promote IPM practices and measure adoption. We expanded the survey to include best practices that address broader sustainability concerns, and performance metrics for measuring water and nutrient use, recycling, work-er and pesticide safety, and greenhouse gas reduction. We also implemented an audit process so buyers and consumers can be confident in the results we are communicating.


Preserving Tuber Quality, Meeting Sustainability Requirements with Peroxyacetic Acid (PAA)

Vijay Choppakatla, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist, BioSafe Systems LLC; Brian Vermette, Owner, Storcool; Kent Wasden, Owner, GroupAg LLC; and, Kurt Schwartau, Business Development Manager, BioSafe Systems LLC

Potatoes can incur significant losses during storage from common disease-causing pathogens, greatly reducing yields and bottom lines. These pathogens find their way into tubers from wounds and bruises incurred during harvest and con-taminated storage facilities. Early curative treatments with Peroxyacetic Acid right after harvest and before storage can help reduce the incidence and severity of diseases and limit pathogen spread from infected potatoes to healthy potatoes. Additional Peroxyacetic Acid intervention applications at the bin piler and during storage can further reduce storage losses. The most common diseases found in potato storages include Bacterial Soft Rot, Dry Rot, Late Blight, Pink Rot, Pythium Leak, Ring Rot and Silver Scurf. Bin piler, cold fogging, thermal fogging and humidicell fogging programs, as well as remedial rescue treatments, offer control, reliability, effectiveness and the additional benefit of extended storability to potato storage operations. Peroxyacetic Acid treatments also meet potato processor sustainability requirements.

Optimizing Nutrient Source and Placement for Improved Tuber Quality and Maximum Yield

Tommy Roach, Director, Specialty Products and Product Development, Nachurs Alpine Solutions

It is widely known that fertility (both soil and plant) has a direct effect on plant growth and development in all crop production systems. This is especially true for potato production, regardless of geography, variety grown, production practices, etc. Over the past decade there has been a renewed emphasis toward efficient, sustainable

Enhancing Soil Health in Potato Cropping Systems: The SCRI Kickoff
Moderator: Carl Rosen, Professor, University of Minnesota, Panelists: Linda Kinkel, Professor, University of Minnesota; Noah Rosenzweig, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University; Chris McIntosh, Professor, University of Idaho; and Matt Ruark, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin

Soil health is a popular term being used in agriculture. A major focus of soil health is on enhancing soil organic matter and a beneficial soil microbial community. But what does soil health really mean when it comes to potato production and can it be improved? Enhancing soil health in potato cropping systems is a challenge because of the soil disturbance that occurs, lack of organic residue remaining after harvest, difficulty in establishing a cover crop, and the need to rely on fumigation. A proposal was recently funded by the USDA/NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) providing an opportunity to explore innovative ways of addressing this challenge. In this session, a general overview of soil health in relation to potato production will be discussed. You will learn from the project directors about the components of the four-year SCRI grant and be able to provide input before the research starts.

A Potato Association of America
(PAA) Research Discussion: Utilizing Remote Sensing to Manage Nitrogen and Optimize Yield and Improving Potato Uniformity with Plant Growth Regulators
Moderator: Kent F. McCue, Ph.D., Research Geneticist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Panelists: Brian Bohman, Research Assistant, University of Minnesota, and Andy Robinson, Ph.D., Extension Ptoato Agronomist, North Dakota State University/University of Minnesota

Kent McCue, vice president of the Potato Association of America, will provide an overview of the association and the research being presented at this year’s PAA Poster Session. He will be joined by Brian Bohman and Andy Robinson who will both be presenting their research at the poster session. Bohman will give a summary of his research on utilizing remote sensing to manage nitrogen and optimize yield for potato that he is showcasing at the Poster Session and Dr. Robinson will present finding from his research on improving potato uniformity with plant growth regulators.

thursday, JANUARY 10

Using Science, Research and Big Data to Simplify Potato Irrigation Management

Kurtis Charling, Manager, FieldNET Business Solutions, Lindsay Corporation, and A.J. Bussan, Ph.D., Senior Production Agronomist, Wysocki Produce Farms

Effectively tracking crop growth and water requirements throughout an entire growing season for a single, irrigated field requires millions of data points and complex calculations – and potatoes are no exception. Cloud-based irrigation management systems can combine this big data with proven science and research, along with irrigation system monitoring and control, to provide simple, data-driven irrigation recommendations and variable rate irrigation plans. In this session, learn how a large potato producer is utilizing a cloud-based irrigation management system to simplify and optimize their potato irrigation management and track potato water usage throughout the growing season, along with the benefits a cloud-based irrigation management system provides to their potato operation.

Revolution in Field Scouting Using AI and Deep Learning
Simcha Shore, Founder & CEO, AgroScout

We all know the damage of diseases and pests on the potato fields and how much effort and money we invest to prevent and control it. In this session, Simcha Shore will examine how new collecting information technologies and cutting-edge computer science technologies can be a game changer in scouting and treatment for plant protection. Today, we can collect weather, humidity, wind and more information from IoT sensors. We collect Multi-Spectral and RGB imagery using satellites, planes, drones (mainly small commercial) and even mobile phones. We will show how using AI, deep learning and big data technologies can provide an early and accurately detection, identification, monitoring and treatment of diseases and pests at a plant level across the entire field, all while saving time and money.

Put Your Soil to Work: Invest in Soil Health and Enhance Crop Performance

Edwin Suarez, CCA, MS, Technical Agronomist, Midwestern BioAG

“Soil health” is gaining interest in the private and public potato industry. The merging point for these two is still unclear with the definition of soil health ever-evolving. This session covers: 1) Why soil health? We’ll define how soil health can enhance nutrient-use efficiency and crop performance in potatoes, impacting crop yield and quality; 2) Identification of soil health as a practical, achievable concept. We’ll outline strategies growers can relate to and measure to improve parameters related to soil health in potato production; 3) Identification of when, where and how to implement practices to improve soil health; and, 4) Evaluation of results. Each management tool will come with practical examples to help the potato grower/industry identify and develop “systems approach” programs to build soil health. This session will also discuss how to measure soil health through methods and parameters that growers and the industry can use to evaluate changes in soil health.

Using Soil Health and Disease Data for Decision-making in Field Production

Krisen Singh, Agronomist, Trace Genomics, Inc.

Modern technological advances in genomics, soil science and data science are enabling an unprecedented view into the rich microbiomes that live in our soils and sustain agricultural production. Microbiome-based technologies that have been built upon a foundation of third-party and customer-validated science can deliver quantitative, strain-specific and comprehensive profiling of bacteria, fungi and other organisms that support plant nutritional up-take, suppress disease and increase yield. Results from the test can provide an overview of soil health and potential diseases for the producer and the retailer, delivering actionable information on products, varieties, fertility plans, and treatments that are best suited for each field. Microbiome technology enables producers, retailers and manufacturers to stay competitive with data-driven agronomics and agriculture, delivering insights on how the soil microbiome influences (and is influenced by) agronomic decisions such as fertility planning, crop and varietal choice, input and irrigation decisions—turning an art into a science.

The Art of Storing Potatoes in Theory and Practice
Dim-Jan de Visser, CEO, Tolsma Techniek Emmeloord

The increasing need for constant and high-quality potatoes for fresh and processing demands a change in thinking about storage. Environmental and economic factors force agricultural entrepreneurs to limit the use of fossil energy in their operations. For potato processing more energy efficient equipment is needed and the change towards natural refrigerants has to be made. The presentation shows an analysis of air distribution in ventilated bulk storages and gives possibilities to improve. Energy consumption in a store house in relation to temperature control will be discussed. Practical advice on how to treat a potato crop during the different phases of storage is presented with a focus on potato quality items like frying color and storage diseases.

How is Early Blight Resistance to SDHI Fungicides Impacting Current Control Strategies?

Kirk Sager, Technical Services Manager, FMC

In the recent past, early blight resistance was between 90 percent to 100 percent for the major SDHI fungicides on the market. New strategies had to be implemented to bring that resistance back down to a manageable level. The SDHI fun-gicides are being threatened again as farmers rely heavily on these FRAC Group 7 fungicides to deal with developing resistance to strobilurin fungicides (FRAC Group 11). In order to keep the efficacy of the SDHI fungicides, it is imperative that farmers not overuse these chemistries. What’s the bottom line? Only rotation and tight control will help extend the shelf life of the SDHI fungicides. We will discuss a few very specific steps farmers need to take in order to reduce the development of early blight resistance and preserve the utility of SDHI fungicides.

UCAN: Enhanced Efficiency
Fertilizer for Improved Potato Production and Tuber Quality
G.W. (Bill) Easterwood, Ph.D., Director of Agronomic Services, Yara North America

Nitrogen and calcium fertilization are key components of a balanced potato crop nutrition program that improves both yield and tuber quality. In irrigated potatoes, nitrogen is often applied in the irrigation water throughout the season using UAN (Urea Ammonium Nitrate) solution. It is proven that potatoes require soluble calcium in the tuber zone to be taken up by the tubers. Mixing liquid calcium nitrate with UAN produces a liquid fertilizer that supplies soluble calcium to the potato tuber and significantly reduces ammonia volatilization from the urea component of the UAN. This UCAN (Urea Calcium Ammonium Nitrate) solution has gained acceptance by the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO) as an Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizer.

Nutrition Research News: Defining
High-Quality Carbohydrate Foods and Implications for Potatoes
Julie Miller Jones, Ph.D., CNS, CFS, LN, Professor Emerita, Foods and Nutrition, St. Catherine University

Nutrition experts have long debated the risks and benefits of high- and low-carbohydrate diets, leading to misperceptions about the role of nutrient-rich carbohydrate foods, like potatoes, in healthy dietary patterns. Nutrition researchers generally agree that, based on the available evidence, the majority of carbohydrates that we consume should be of “high-quality.” However, a definition of what constitutes a high-quality carbohydrate remains elusive. The Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE) recently convened four prominent carbohydrate experts to discuss the various factors that affect carbohydrate quality, to better understand the role of potatoes and other carbohydrate foods in healthy lifestyles. This session will highlight perspectives from that roundtable discussion, including the impact of nutrition, preparation and processing on carbohydrate quality and opportunities for the industry to work together to elevate the science and appreciation for the role of carbohydrate foods like potatoes in dietary patterns that improve health. The objectives of this session are to identify the various factors that impact carbohydrate quality; understand the role and limitations of the glycemic index, a marker used by many as a surrogate for carbohydrate quality; and, better understand opportunities for advancing scientific evidence on the role of potatoes in healthy dietary patterns.

The Future of Precision Agriculture
is TINY: Nanotechnology in Crop Protection
Darren Anderson, Ph.D., President and Co-founder, Vive Crop Protection

Nanotechnology has been used extensively in the medical field to deliver medicine to highly targeted places in the body, and by electronics manufacturers to create brighter screens on everyday items. This session will explore the use and benefits of nanotechnology in agriculture. Dr. Anderson will use down-to-earth examples and easily understood terminology to explain what nanotechnology can (and cannot) do for farmers. He will also provide a glimpse into the near future, where nanotechnology will help potato farmers decrease the number of passes over the field due to extended length of control of fungicides, herbicides and insecticides.