Potato Field Day Set to Dig Up Solutions for Florida Farmers

Florida potato plants in bloom at the UF/IFAS Cowpen Branch research and demonstration farm in Hastings, FL
Attendees of the annual Potato Field Day at the UF/IFAS Cowpen Branch research and demonstration farm in Hastings, FL, will have the chance to get an up-close look at ongoing variety and crop protection trials.
Photo by Bonnie C. Wells

Did you know more than 20,000 acres of potatoes are grown in the Hastings, FL, area? That impressive figure represents more than 60% of the Sunshine State’s potato crop acreage, which boasts an annual production value of $180 million.

It’s only appropriate the “Potato Capital of Florida” serves as ground zero not only for acres grown, but also relevant research. To showcase and discuss the latest developments in production and crop protection, the UF/IFAS Hastings Agricultural Extension Center will host its annual Potato Field Day at its Cowpen Branch research and demonstration farm (9500 Cowpen Branch Road) on Thursday, April 27.

Growers, industry representatives, and anyone interested in potato production are welcome to attend this free event. Topics to be covered include specialty potatoes, fertigation, alternatives to fumigation for nematode management, disease management, weed control, and more.

As a supplement to the educational program, participants will tour the research farm, stopping at plots where UF/IFAS specialists and Extension agents will deliver presentations on current research findings.

** Official Agenda **

3:00 pm – Welcome and Introductions: Gary K. England, Director, UF/IFAS Hastings Agricultural Extension Center


3:15 – 4:50 pm – Field Tours:

Potato Nutrition Update

  • How to Set Up a Fertigation System for Potato Production: Xiangju Fu, UF/IFAS
  • Phosphorus Trial Update for Potato Production: Dario Racano, UF/IFAS

Weed Management Update: Peter Dittmar, UF/IFAS

  • Cover Crop Weed Management
  • Vine Management for Skin Set

Nematode Management

Potato Disease Management Update: Nick Dufault, UF/IFAS

  • Late Blight Model
  • Industry Fungicide Evaluation
  • Black Leg Update

USDA Specialty Potato Plots: Lincoln Zotarelli, UF/IFAS; and Christian Christensen, UF/IFAS

5:00 pm – Educational Program

    • Sweet Potato Research Update: Bonnie C. Wells, UF/IFAS
    • Why Can Fertigation Significantly Increase Potato Yield?: David Liu, UF/IFAS
    • Determining Water Table Level for Irrigating TCAA Soils: Lincoln Zotarelli; Andre Biscaia, UF/IFAS
    • Adjusting Seed Piece Spacing for Chipping: Lincoln Zotarelli

5:30 pm – Dinner sponsored by Ameris Bank

 

For more information about this event and to RSVP, email St. Johns County UF/IFAS Commercial Agriculture Extension Agent Bonnie C. Wells or call 904-209-0430.

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