The 2016 Potato Harvest in Review

It is not every season that growers receive the ideal weather conditions for planting, growing and harvesting. However, when looking at the 2016 season in review, it seems that Mother Nature was particularly compliant for potato growers. Due to this weather, which lead to moderate disease pressures, growers are stating that they experienced a successful season with yields that were slightly above normal. While growers begin to plan for the season ahead, they know that generous weather conditions are not a guarantee.

In fact, nothing is guaranteed for growers, which is why successful growers proactively plan a defensive crop protection strategy. By having such a plan in place, growers will be ready to handle anything unpredictable that might come their way. The best way to start planning is by looking back at the previous season and evaluating the weather and what diseases caused the largest threat.

Overall, growers in the Columbia basin experienced mild weather conditions. Earlier in the year, decent moisture and moderate temperatures led to ideal planting conditions. Even the summer heat cooperated and never became too intense, which drastically cut the threat of heat stress. Near perfect weather conditions at the right time not only created high-yielding potatoes, but also high-quality potatoes.

Disease pressures were typical and manageable for those growers who had planned their fungicide applications for the year. Growers faced the usual challenges of white mold and early blight. Applications of Endura® fungicide and Priaxor® fungicide provided excellent control of these diseases respectively. Creating a fungicide plan that corresponds with specific growth stages can give a grower the edge needed to produce high-quality potatoes that sell for top dollar.

Some areas experienced late blight pressures. This is, thankfully, not a disease growers see every year but when it does show up in a field the results can be devastating. The leading challenge is for growers to get the appropriate fungicide applied to stop the spread of this destructive disease and protect those acres that have not been infected. Forum® fungicide from BASF is specifically designed to stop late blight in its tracks with an anti-sporal component that keeps the disease from spreading.

“Growers should have a plan to control late blight even though the disease is not seen every year,” said Tye Shauck, Technical Service Representative, BASF. “Knowing which fungicide to reach for when late blight shows up is the first step to controlling this devastating disease.”

By reviewing the disease pressures present in 2016 and being proactive in planning, potato growers will be one step ahead in achieving another successful season next year. Growers should take what they learned and apply it to next season, or identify ways they can improve on this year’s success for 2017. Growers can learn how the BASF potato portfolio can increase their success in the upcoming year, visit www.GrowSmartPotatoes.com.