Knowing Your Roots

Posts tagged ‘GPS technology’

Behind the Scenes: The Slow Spring of 2014

 

Blog 15

It’s May, and in the Central Sands farmers are well on their way to wrapping up potato planting!  Farmers in northern counties like Langlade, the Antigo area, and north are just getting underway.  The wind is from the south, and regular spring rains are causing planting delays, testing patience while recharging the groundwater. The landscape is awake and thriving with native grasslands, trees budding and soon, with growing vegetables–the Central Sands region is one of the nation’s premier potato and vegetable production areas in the United States. Just the warm and earthy smell of the soil after rain is an elixir to the farmers; and the season is underway.

Farmers preparing for potato planting require several weeks of planning and organizing in advance of the big startup day. Potato seed took 3-4 years to produce in the right varieties and volumes in the northern reaches of the state.  Then growers carefully warm the seed to the current soil temperature and cut them into 2-3 ounce pieces.   These seed pieces are given a few days to heal (suberize), growing a protective skin to help prevent against disease and rot.  These 2 ½ ounce seeds contain the energy needed to give the sprouting plant the push to grow and emerge until it can begin to produce its own energy through photosynthesis.

Farmers once used horses to till and plant the land.  They had their own pace, their own speed. The simple machines of the past planted one row at a time at the unpredictable yet predetermined speed of horse. One farmer held the reins to keep the rows straight while another rode on the planter. By hand, potato seed pieces were fed into a device that dropped them into furrows opened by the planter and then closed and covered them with a hill where the new plant would grow and develop. This was a two-horsepower, two-farmer operation that was tediously slow but still a huge improvement on its predecessor that required a spade and bucket. In those early days, it might take a family two months of backbreaking work to plant just 20 acres.   (more…)

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Farm Perspectives: Tracking our Tractors with GPS Guidance

IMG_2969A 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: Feeding Our Vegetable Crops

Blog 27We all need food to grow and prosper.  Our doctors tell us that a balanced diet is one of the keys to a healthy life. So it should be no surprise that plants also need a nutritious diet!  Natural plant systems like forests and prairies eat what Mother Nature provides by teaming up with a huge array of critters from bacteria to bugs to break down old detritus and soil into the essential components of their diet, like nitrate and carbon.  Some have even evolved fantastic, mutually-beneficial arrangements with bacteria and fungi that allow them to pluck nitrogen from the air or move nutrients into the roots more efficiently!   (more…)

Thoughts for Food: Let the Season Begin!

Blog 15

It’s April, and in the Central Sands farmers are beginning to stir and get ready for action in the fields!  The wind is from the south, and gentle spring rains are recharging the groundwater. The landscape is about to be awoken and soon to be thriving with growing vegetables–the Central Sands region is one of the nation’s premier potato and vegetable production areas. Just the warm and earthy smell of the soil after rain is an elixir to the farmers; they are ready for the season to begin! (more…)

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