When we look back at the last thirty years of the potato industry in Central Wisconsin, we marvel at the advances growers have made and wonder how much further they can go! Major changes in practices, technologies, and tools—driven by engaged and innovative growers, working side by side with other growers and UW researchers—have occurred to solve challenging production and environmental issues. This has enabled the industry to increase productivity by over 25% in the last decade alone. Due to these advances, the acreage of the potato crop has been reduced from 84,000 to 61,000 acres; inputs like water, energy and pesticides have also been reduced, and yet we produce as many potatoes now (we rank 3rd in the US) as we did a decade ago. (more…)
Archive for July, 2013
Harvesting the bounty of the Central Sands is already underway –peas and snap beans are on the way to consumer’s plates and sweet corn, potatoes and carrots are just around the corner. As we watch and enjoy this remarkable productivity unfold, it is a good time to reflect on what makes it all possible. The Central Sands themselves and the underlying aquifer of groundwater laid down by glaciers 25,000 years ago and replenished each year by rainfall are the corner stones in the foundation. Maintaining the delicate balance between the water resource and the needs of everyone who uses and depends on it, however, is an ongoing challenge that we all must be a part of if future generations are to enjoy the benefits of this unique area. (more…)
A recent blog post mentioned how important technology has become in the potato farming industry, and one of the biggest technological helpers is guidance. By using guidance systems on our machinery that use Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, farms like ours, Wysocki Produce Farm, can make field operations much more efficient and sustainable. We added guidance systems to our farm about eight years ago, and it’s made a huge difference for our crops, our environmental impact and our staff. (more…)
Thoughts for Food: How did Wisconsin’s Central Sands emerge as one of the premier vegetable production centers in the nation?
The Central Sands region of Wisconsin is recognized as one of the premier vegetable growing regions in the nation; potatoes, sweet corn, green beans, peas, carrots and cucumbers all rank near the top of US production. This remarkable level of success was forged by the ingenuity and hard work of the farmers who settled here generations ago, and it is enhanced by our temperate climate with warm daytime temperatures, cool nights and ample rainfall. The foundation of the region’s productivity, however, lies in its geological history, which began during the glacial ice age that encompassed Wisconsin over 15,000 years ago. Geologically, the Central Sands is a large and relatively flat glacial outwash plain with abundant sandy soil—ideal for vegetable production—that is underlain by a deep groundwater aquifer that provides the water needed for crop growth and productivity. The sandy soils deposited by the glacial lake and its residual groundwater make this region ideal for vegetable production, which provides an economic boost to the region and enables Wisconsin to be a leader in providing a safe and abundant food supply to the whole nation. (more…)
As summer wears on and the potatoes continue to develop below the soil, the farmers in the central sands area of Wisconsin are already starting to think about when they will be able to dig their potatoes. With another harvesting season fast approaching, a topic that should always be at the forefront of the minds of growers and packers alike is safe product handling. (more…)