Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Potato news

Growers Will Learn How to Put Sustainability into Practice
at Jan. 20-21 University of Idaho Potato Conference

Pocatello—“Putting Sustainability into Practice” is the theme of the University of Idaho’s 42nd Annual Potato Conference Jan. 20-21 in Pocatello. Participants will learn how to more efficiently use fertilizers, pesticides, water, fuel and other inputs.

John Keeling of the National Potato Council will describe the national forces driving potato producers to adopt sustainable practices, while Dave Ingersoll of J.R. Simplot Company will discuss consumers’ interest in improved product quality and nutritive value. A.J. Bussan, potato and vegetable production specialist at the University of Wisconsin, will describe future challenges in potato management systems; Paul Patterson, University of Idaho Extension economist, will examine the Idaho industry’s economic sustainability on both a farm and statewide basis; and Rich Novy, USDA Agricultural Research Service potato breeder, will address improving sustainability with new potato varieties.

Other conference topics will include organic potato production practices, manure management, production cost trends and forecasts, supply-demand balance, and evolving food-service products.

Participants will get research-based updates on managing diseases—including potato virus Y effects, symptoms and strain differences---as well as nutrient-disease interactions, insects, nematodes, weeds, planting, irrigation, harvest and storage. They will get briefings on the 2009 season and on field-burning requirements, learn how to enhance food safety, get tips on developing equitable crop leases, find out how to diagnose disease problems, and get advice on anticipating hail-damage outcomes. They will also learn how to use humic acid and post-harvest phosphorous acid, what crop insurance covers, which Natural Resources Conservation Service programs are available to them and how to implement the updated Good Agricultural Practices audit.

Spanish-language workshops will cover equipment maintenance and pest-management, including green peach aphids, powdery scab and University of Idaho Extension’s new Spanish-English field guide.

Slated for Idaho State University’s Pond Student Union Building, the 2010 University of Idaho Potato Conference is scheduled for 8 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, and 8:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. In-state registration is $20 until Jan. 8 and $25 at the door. Out-of-state participants pay $75 until Jan. 8 and $90 at the door.

The conference is held in conjunction with the Eastern Idaho Ag Expo, which begins Jan. 19 in the Holt Arena.

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