Tag: drip irrigation on potatoes

Farmer Saves Big with Subsurface Drip Irrigation on Potatoes

Drip Irrigation on PotatoesA Florida-based potato farmer who recently won an award for his sustainable irrigation methods firmly believes all farmers should adopt subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) for the good of the planet.

Riverdale Potato Farms vice president and third generation family member Bryan Jones, last month received one of the state’s Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Awards for the subsurface drip irrigation system he developed with his father.

“The results are remarkable.”

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Potato Grower Adding More Drip Irrigation

With its inaugural “a great start,” Maverick Potato Co. in Center, CO, is heading into 2014 with plans to double yellow production, increase organics, make upgrades to the packing shed and continue to build relationships in both domestic and Mexican markets, according to company President Roger Christensen.

Christensen, who founded Maverick in 2013 with co-owner Michael Kruse, is a longtime San Luis Valley grower and potato salesman. The two grower-partners went into the 2013-14 season with plans to move approximately 200,000 hundredweight of mostly russets, with a lesser volume of yellows.

“Overall it has gone really well, and we’re off to a great start,” Christensen said in early January. “We are now SCS GlobalGAP certified and consider food safety to be our number-one priority.

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Drip Irrigation Trial on Potatoes

Once upon a time, no one thought the center pivot would work, mentioned an old Valley farmer leaving the Drip Irrigation Field Day earlier this month.

Producers gathered in both Roger Christensen and Dennis Beiriger’s experimental drip irrigation potato fields to see what happens when a tuber is watered under a controlled irrigation system installed underground. The Colorado Potato Administrative Committee (CPAC) and Rio Grande Roundtable sponsored trial proved Valley crops will grow using the system that delivers water and nutrients directly to the crop’s root and is used in many forms on an international scale, but it still needs a bit of tinkering.

Beiriger and his brothers have turned a small portion their fourth-generation family farm in Hooper into a drip tape demonstration project to prove the benefits of a drip system over a pivot system in a drought-stricken environment.

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Benefits of Drip Irrigation on Potatoes

Drip irrigation is a mainstream technology in dozens of other crop production systems throughout the world because it allows producers to evenly spoon-feed precious water and nutrients directly to every plant’s root zone despite variable soil conditions, undulating terrain, odd field dimensions or long lengths of run. But potato producers have been slower to adopt drip since there are significant changes in bed configuration, agronomic decisions, and planting and harvesting equipment that go along with this technology.

Despite these challenges, cutting-edge producers, suppliers, and researchers are coming up with viable answers in hopes of bolstering the potato industry against the inevitable vagaries of the market, economy, costs, and resource availability, and are discovering significant benefits in adopting drip irrigation for potato production.

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