Local and Regional News
Oregon State University - POTATO UPDATE
By Silvia I. Rondon, Extension Entomologist Specialist and Philip B. Hamm, Plant Pathologist
Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center, September 9 , 2011
Essential information about Zebra Chip (ZC) in the Columbia Basin: Identification, Late Season Control, and Storage
Zebra Chip (ZC) is a new disease in the Columbia Basin. This disease causes significant yield and tuber quality losses in southern areas of the United States, Mexico and further south. So far it appears to have been confined entirely to the most southern portion of the Basin. A number of fields and potato cultivars (Russet Norkotah, Umatilla Russet, Alturas, Russet Ranger, a red cultivar, and Pike) have been confirmed to have been infected but damage has been reported to be overall minor though some issues have developed during processing/packing.
University of Idaho Extension Updates Potato GAP Audit Manual
Written by Marlene Fritz, April 7, 2010
TWIN FALLS, Idaho—University of Idaho Extension has updated its Potato GAP Audit Organizational Manual to correspond with November 2009 changes in the USDA’s Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) & Good Handling Practices (GHP) Audit Verification Checklist. The manual, available at http://www.kimberly.uidaho.edu/potatoes/gap.htm, is designed to simplify the collection of information necessary to pass the 2010 USDA GAP Audit.
Nora Olsen, a University of Idaho Extension potato specialist, says the manual revisions focused on three major program changes:
- new identification of records, policy or documentation requirements
- new numbering, wording or point values for previously asked questions
- new traceability and other questions
The GAP/GHP Audit Verification Program is a volunteer program designed to minimize unintentional microbial or chemical contamination of produce before it reaches the consumer. According to Olsen, many potato processors and fresh packers in Idaho require that the farming operations supplying them with produce be GAP certified.
The GAP audit process includes a visit by an Idaho State Department of Agriculture auditor, who fills out a checklist designed to assess the operation’s efforts to minimize the possibility of contamination. Olsen said the University of Idaho Extension Web-based manual coordinates standard farm operating procedures with the requirements of the checklist and its associated documentation.
The Potato GAP Audit Web site includes information on using the manual, step-by-step procedures on compiling it and photos showing what it should look like when completed.
Fertilizer - Best Management Practices for Potato Production in the Pacific Northwest
Potatoes are grown in almost every state and province in North America. Some potatoes are grown for fresh consumption, while others are used for processing into fries, chips, or frozen products. Whatever the end use, the objective of every potato grower is to provide high quality potatoes that meet the market objectives at a price that is economically profitable and environmentally sustainable.
McDonald's Looks for New Spuds
By Ted Escobar, Columbia Basin Herald, February 5th, 2010
CALDWELL, Idaho — McDonald’s officials are meeting with the Potato Variety Management Institute (PVMI) to talk about potential new varieties of potatoes for French Fries.
Jeanne Debons, executive director of the Potato Variety Management Institute (PVMI), is meeting McDonald’s officials and other officials from within the potato industry in Caldwell, Idaho, Tuesday. Debons hopes the meeting leads to McDonald’s considering new varieties of potatoes for its French fries. She believes her organization has promising new varieties that will satisfy the fast food restaurant chain’s needs.
Potato Farmer Holy Grail: McDonald's French Fries
By The Associated Press, September 23th, 2009
From the fields of Idaho to tasting rooms in suburban Chicago, potato farmers, researchers and industry representatives are in the midst of an elusive hunt: finding a new spud for McDonald's french fries.
Seven years have passed since the fast-food giant last added a new U.S. potato variety to three previously approved for its golden fries, something that both irks and motivates potato researchers who hope their progeny will be next.
Because McDonald's buys more than 3 billion pounds of potatoes annually across the globe, it has the power to dictate whether a variety sprouts or winds up in the less-lucrative supermarket freezer's crinkle cut bin—or worse yet, banished to become dehydrated taters.
"It's a card game where McDonald's holds nine-tenths of the cards," said Jeanne Debons, the Potato Variety Management Institute's director.
The institute was established in 2005 by the Idaho, Oregon and Washington potato commissions to handle licensing and royalties from new potatoes developed at universities and federal research facilities in the three states.
Potato Pay Dirt: A Sustainable Spud McDonald's Can Love
Globe and Mail, September 25th, 2009
To the potato industry, it's the Holy Grail. Farmers, researchers and corporations including Canada's McCain Foods Ltd. are desperately searching for a new, more environmentally friendly potato variety that can be used to make McDonald's (MCD-N56.120.581.04%) French fries.
Pressure is beginning to mount on the fast-food giant to find a potato that uses fewer pesticides and requires less water to grow – a more sustainable spud. “It's huge, it is a multimillion-dollar effort,” Jeanne Debons, director of the Potato Variety Management Institute (PVMI) in Bend, Ore., said in an interview.
McDonald's buys more than three billion pounds of potatoes annually that are used to make fries at its restaurants around the world.
by Jeanne Debons, Potato Variety Management Institute, July 2009
Until PVMI was formed in 2005 by the potato commissions in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, the majority of usage of new protected potato varieties were not administered; that is, no licenses were issued to use them, nor royalty fees collected when seed was sold. PVMI has set up the system to manage the administration of potato varieties released by the Tri-State program, and to collect and pass licensing and royalty proceeds back to the variety development research programs in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. This is especially important in these hard times when state and national governments are reducing both existing funding and grants for agricultural research...
For an adobe PDF file of the article: July Potato Country Article (PDF)
Before 2005, administering and marketing potato varieties developed in Washington, Oregon and Idaho was primarily the purview of research universities in each of those states. Today, a new organization charged with those tasks -- the Potato Variety Management Institute -- is turning new varieties into cash to further the regional industry’s research and marketing goals.
“It’s starting to pay off,” said Jeanne Debons, PVMI executive director. She was a featured speaker at the WSU Potato Field Day in Othello June 26.
by Dorothy Noble at Growing Magazine May 2008
In terms of farm cash receipts, potatoes are the top crop in the United States. Yet, potatoes are susceptible to a plethora of diseases and pests. Add environmental stresses to these difficulties, and it’s easy to comprehend the importance of potato research.
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Aberdeen, Idaho, and Beltsville, Md., as well as a number of university researchers, cooperate in breeding programs to improve disease resistance, processing abilities, nutritional quality and to develop new varieties of potatoes. Industry organizations also play a part.
Several PVMI varieties mentioned plus new varieties of fresh market and specialty potatoes will be covered in a subsequent issue.
Hopkins, B. G., Rosen, C. J., Shiffler, A. K., and Taysom, T. W. 2008. Enhanced efficiency fertilizers for improved nutrient management: Potato (Solanum tuberosum). Online. Crop Management doi:10.1094/CM-2008-0317-01-RV.
The improvement of fertilizer efficiency is driven by narrow profit margins, environmental concerns, and resource conservation. Enhancing fertilizer efficiency in potato is particularly important because relatively high rates of fertilizer and water are necessary to compensate for an inefficient rooting system and extreme sensitivity to deficiencies. Several new fertilizer materials have been designed to enhance fertilizer efficiency. The modes of action of these materials include: (i) slow or controlled release to meet plant need in a more timely fashion; (ii) addition of high charge-density materials that isolate nutrients from interfering elements and compounds; (iii) complexation or chelation of the nutrient to enhance solubility; and (iv) modification of the micro-site pH to enhance nutrient solubility.
Pacific Northwest Extension publication (Oregon State University, University of Idaho, and Washington State University); PNW 594 April 2007
This publication discusses the status of the potato tuberworm in the Pacific Northwest, explains the pest’s life cycle, and includes color photos for identification. Suggests strategies for monitoring and control, including cultural and chemical control methods.
by John Schmitz at Spudman on April 2007
Dr. Isabel Vales is lead researcher of Oregon State's (OSU) potato research program, developing and evaluating potatoes that come in all shapes and colors. Specialty potatoes which include unusual shapes in addition to non-conventional skin and flesh colors are only a small part of the Tri-State development program, Vales said.
"We are developing (traditional) potatoes with high yields and quality and also focusing on disease resistance. Those offer opportunities for organic growers as well."
For an adobe PDF file of the Spudman article: Specialty Potatoes (PDF)
The struggling potato industry could rebound in Central Oregon and the Pacific Northwest if plans to introduce new varieties into the marketplace take hold, according to potato growers and industry leaders who met here Friday for the state’s 40th annual Potato Conference.
by Potato Country on December 2006
41st Annual Montana Seed Potato Seminar (Nov. 8-9) at the Red Lion Colonial Hotel in Helena, Montana
Dr. Jeanne Debons, executive director of the Potato Variety Management Institute, Bend, OR gives an explanation of PVMI and its implications for the Northwest potato industry. Debons holds a Ph.D. in potato plant pathology from Oregon State University and has extensive experience in both production and marketing.
For a Adobe PDF file of the presentation: (PDF) Download now
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Variety Storage Management
Published Information on Storage Management of Gem Russet, Umatilla Russet, Summit Russet and Alturas Potatoes
These publications outline information on optimizing storage conditions based on three (3) years of research at the University of Idaho Potato Storage Research Facility, Kimberly Research & Extension Center, in southern Idaho.