Knowing Your Roots

Posts tagged ‘Conservation’

Farm Perspectives: Pest Scout helps Reduce Use of Crop Protectants

At Alsum Farms & Produce, our summer weather is finally here and the potatoes are growing fast and are a beautiful thing to see. The reds, whites, and goldens are getting close to row closure and they have started to “hook,” which means they are forming a tuber under the hill. We are seeing marble-sized tubers already and they will be growing fast. Moisture management is critical at this time and we were blessed with a nice rain again this week. The cold wet spring was a problem for the seed pieces, but moisture at this time is a positive as long as we don’t get several inches at one time. We are placing tensiometers in our fields this week to help with monitoring soil moisture. This is one of many ways that we try to make sure we are using best practices to conserve and properly manage our water usage.

Our pest scout position is another valuable tool in our IPM and best practices for potato growing. (more…)

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Farm Perspectives: Improved Food Quality and Safety By Advanced Technology

NutoChanges in technology are a major driving force in the agricultural business, and are one aspect of farming that growers should strive to keep up-to-date.  These advancements have a broad spectrum that can vary from enhanced seeds to state-of-the-art tractors.  With increased interest and policies concerning greater food safety, these innovations are becoming a necessity.

Here at Nuto Farms, food safety is an integral part of our entire operation. (more…)

Thoughts for Food: The Importance of Agriculture in Conservation Efforts

Why is agriculture so important?  Well, we can all point to the abundant, safe and cost effective food supply, which comes from our fine farmers and ranchers each day.  However, agriculture also has a profound effect on conservation, and it is critical to maintain undeveloped, open agricultural landscapes as a part of a strategy to ensure endangered, at-risk or declining species and habitats remain in our ecology.  Interestingly enough, more than 90% of at-risk species in Wisconsin exist on private land—many on farms in your community!

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Dig Deeper: There’s More than Meets the Eye of Every Wisconsin Potato

Everyone has that one neighbor with a perfect lawn.  In order to get the envy of the neighborhood, that homeowner must manage several aspects of his or her lawn, and it starts with the soil.  Soil type, water holding capacity, pH, nutrients and minerals, as well as pest and weed control properties, all play a role in the final appearance the lawn will have.  It takes a lot of work to have the perfect lawn, but those that do, start with the best soil.

It’s no different for farmers.  We always hear about corn and soybeans, but instead we’ll use an example that every Wisconsinite eats – potatoes.  Both Wisconsin’s soil and climate create an ideal growing environment for Wisconsinite’s (and American’s) favorite vegetable.  Potatoes are grown in three main regions of the state. But, the most famous of these are the central sands counties of Adams, Waushara, Portage, Wood and Waupaca.   This is where the bulk of potatoes are grown. It is the combination of the cool northern climate – with a rapid warm up in the spring, and the soil that makes this the perfect place for potato production.

The soil in the central sands lacks organic material and has a lower density (larger air pockets).  It also has the perfect pH (level of acidity) and minerals necessary for potato growth.  These aspects allow potatoes to grow quickly and consistently.  In addition, potatoes grown in this soil are subject to less plant disease. 

Whether a farmer is growing corn, soybeans or potatoes, pests, weeds and diseases present significant challenges that affect both the quality and quantity of the growing crop.  However, by selecting the ideal environment in terms of both climate and soil, the farmer can use nature as a management technique.  Utilizing the environment to aid in pest and disease control, the central sands region helps potato farmers naturally fight these potentially harmful conditions.

Wisconsin Potatoes

Growing food, like potatoes, in the most suitable soil allows farmers to utilize sustainable farming practices.  In the case of potatoes, this would include integrated pest management techniques, water conservation and the preservation of Wisconsin’s native ecosystems. So, the next time you look at a lawn, which is the envy of the neighborhood, or dig into that bag of potato chips, remember the important role of Wisconsin’s climate and soils.

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