Thursday, August 22, 2013

"Famous Potato" Land

So this week I was on a short fertilizer mission to Idaho to look at some fields and plots of...what else...potatoes.  I was picked up yesterday morning by SAM Bruce and we first drove to Twin Falls.  There is a bridge there that crosses the Snake River.  It is called the Perrine Bridge, named after an early 20th century business man who spear-headed irrigation in the area and is credited with the early development of Twin Falls, which is a very nice city, by the way.  It is 1500 feet long and 486 feet above the Snake River.  It was opened in 1976, and it replaced the bridge built in the 1920's that once was the highest bridge in the world.
Here I am at the tee of the par 12, 953 yard 13th hole of the Snake River golf course.  I only needed a 7 iron to get across.
This bridge is world famous as a BASE jumping place.  We were in luck to see a guy jump off, and fortunately his parachute deployed.  It is all legal, and people literally come from all over the world to do this.  I was content to watch.  He did make it down safely, and touched down on land.
But enough with the sight seeing, and we went to see a near-by potato field that had all Liquid fertilizer on it.  No 10-34-0.  No 32%.  No dry.  OK, there was some urea on top of the High NRG-N, but that was all.  It was farmed by the Manager of the Hefty Seed store in Buhl. 
Here is Van digging a hill from the field.  These are Umatilla Russet potatoes which are mainly used for French fries.  Van had a group visit from a potato processor just the other day, and they made some digs and had a current yield estimate of over 600 cwt/A, which is beyond outstanding.  They are now bulking, and increasing by around 7 cwt/A/day.  They should be dug around October 1, so a big yield is anticipated.  (Note: potato yields are often reported in "cwt" per acre, and cwt means "hundred weight" or 100 pounds.  So 600 cwt is 60,000 lb of potatoes.  Actual yield is further affected by potato "grade" or sizes.  So final numbers will vary, but so far so good.  Some areas report yield in tons, which is too confusing if you are used to "cwt".)
Here is how they looked.  Lots of good sized potatoes.  Some day when they ask if you want fries with that, say "Yes".  You should eat a potato daily, or at least order one even if you don't eat it.
Next we drove over to see our contract research plots in Rupert, ID, which is back to the East of Twin Falls.  It is a big place, specializing in potato research.
Here is our group discussing the plots and all things potatoes.  From left are Zack and Phillip from the Hefty Buhl store, Jeff Miller of Miller Research, SAM Bruce, Van and Trent, also of Miller Research.  They are very good in plot research and know pretty much everything there is to know about potatoes.  We will be anxious to get the plot results which are comparing different fertilizer programs, including P and N fertilizers.
It was good to have Van along to get perspective from both a Liquid dealer and a grower.  We are all anxious to learn.
We are also having them run some fertilizer plots on sugarbeets.  However these were about 15 miles from the other plots on their home farm.  Again, fertilizer comparisons including some experimental products.  Looking good so far.
So that was yesterday.  Normally I would stay a little longer, but again, the NCRS calls to prepare for the big Research Field Days next week.  I took off early this morning from Pocatello, ID and flew to my connection in Salt Lake City.  I looked out my window to the East as we were descending to land and caught this nice sunrise in the clouds pic.
Here is another one seconds later.  I liked those clouds that were poking up.  As you can see I am easily excited.
So I landed in time to venture up to the NCRS.  We were hopeful earlier in the week when it said there was a chance of rain on Thursday and Friday.  But chances turned to zero.  Not used to being this dry in the Great Lakes state, but crops are suffering around here.  Complaining won't help, but I do it anyway.