Knowing Your Roots

Posts tagged ‘environment’

Farm Perspectives: Summer “Ware’housekeeping”

Generally summer is the time of the year when farmers spend a majority of their time out in the fields, but it is also the time when we have the opportunity to clean, repair and upgrade our storage facilities at Nuto Farm Supply before the potato harvest season begins.  (more…)

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Farm Perspectives: Farmers’ Investments Move Industry Ahead; Provide Quality Products

Potato HandsEven though I work for an organization that has family roots that have been growing potatoes for over 100 years, I didn’t get into agriculture until later in life.  I’ll never forget when I first became associated with the potato industry 15 years ago after having a conversation with a potato grower who was much my senior.  He told me that raising potatoes isn’t that big of a deal.  You put some seed in the ground, put a little sunlight on them, give them a little water and fertilizer and they do the rest on their own.  What I’ve found out is that may well be the biggest understatement since astronaut Jim Lovell told Houston he had a problem.

The fact of the matter is farming has become incredibly high tech.  Virtually all aspects of production have been studied and influenced by scientific study.  (more…)

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…)

Farm Perspectives: Keeping an Eye on Water Quality

Water QualityNow that most of our seed has made its way below the soil, it is time once again to bring water issues to the forefront of our minds. The clean, readily available water in the central sands region of our state is key to the production of the valuable potato crop each and every year. The quality of the water that is applied to our potatoes and other vegetables has always been minded with great care not only for us here at Okray Family Farms, but for all growers in the central Wisconsin area as well. (more…)

Thoughts for Food: Protecting the Environment While Managing Pests

Blog 17

Imagine those delicious tomatoes you just planted. You can already taste that juicy and tangy first bite! But not so fast; it’s not quite that simple. It’s June and three of your plants are mysteriously missing – cutworms! What are they? Where did they come from? The rest of your plants are hidden by a thicket of weeds. ‘I didn’t plant those!’ you think to yourself. It’s July and we are back on track. But wait. Half the leaves have been torn off, the rest are covered in brown spots—hornworms? The news says it’s early blight – how, why?  So it goes on into fall when you finally pick your few remaining treasures before some new plague devours them.

Fighting the critters that devour our plants is pretty much a given, whether you are tending a small kitchen garden or farming 1,000 acres. If you want your crop to succeed, then you need to know not only what your crop needs, but what makes those critters tick! (more…)

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