2022 Montcalm Potato Field Day Recap

News Category: State News
Field Day

2022 MPIC Montaclm Potato Field Day Recap

Michigan State University and the Michigan Potato Industry Commission teamed up to bring the potato industry a jam-packed field day. The weather was pleasant, and a new modified format allowed for many topics to be covered in a short period of time!  If you were unable to make the event, below is a recap of the topics you missed.
Climate Resilience in Potato

Tools to manage nutrient utilization and reduce environmental impacts of fertilizer leaching
Effective nutrient utilization is not only a sound agronomic investment but also environmentally responsible and a key component in moving towards more durable, resilient agroecosystems. However just as soil variability will differentially affect nutrient fate and movement, climate variability also creates uncertainty with regards to both nutrients already applied and future applications. Some key points to remember during times of stress and uncertainty:

  • Start Right to Finish Well! Early-season nutrient management can play a large role in how plants respond to mid-to late-season environmental stress. Weather, no matter how wet or dry, impacts both nutrient supply and demand.
  • When it rains it pours. Unfortunately, as luck would have it these events often seem to coincide with many grower’s field applications. Uncertainties with nitrogen responses are primarily affected by weather factors and not crop management. Thus have an idea on how much actual infiltration takes place from large rainfall events to help determine whether nitrogen may truly be lost or may eventually be found by the plant.
  • Understand the form of nutrient applied and the timing of application. With both phosphorus and potassium being less mobile in the soil, plants need sufficient surface roots to absorb these nutrients from either fertigation or previous soil applications. Most fertilizer nitrogen is either applied as ammonium (NH4+) or becomes ammonium in the soil. In many instances, these N sources need conversion to nitrate (NO3-) before losses occur. Despite NH4+ converting to NO3- , nitrate doesn’t move by itself thus better understanding of your fertilizer composition, soil temperatures, and water management can help determine the need for further applications.   

For more information contact Dr. Kurt Steinke: ksteinke@msu.edu, (517) 353-0271

Improving irrigation water use efficiency utilizing soil moisture sensor monitoring tools
To improve center pivot irrigation system, first, read the pressure gauge at the center pivot regularly to identify the potential problem with the system. Second, evaluate irrigation system uniformity to ensure how much water is actually applied. Thirds, inspect clogged nozzles and emitters, leaky pipelines, and riser gaskets. To improve water use efficiency, use the irrigation scheduling tools. Irrigation scheduling is a method of determining the appropriate amount of water to be applied to a crop at the correct time to achieve full crop production potential. Available irrigation scheduling tools are MSU irrigation scheduler program, using evapotranspiration values from MSU Enviroweather Network, and soil moisture sensors.

Take–home points:

  1. Use flow meters and pressure gauges to improve uniformity and avoid mistakes.
  2. Irrigation scheduling tools can help make better-informed decisions on when and how much to irrigate.

For more information contact Dr. Younsuk Dong: dongyoun@msu.edu, 517-899-6680
Current Production Season Challenges

Dry weather and weed management challenges
What do dry conditions mean for weed management? The extended dry period during planting will alter both weed emergence and performance of preemergence residual herbicides. Deciding whether plans for postemergence weed control will need to be altered is going to rely on regularly scouting fields to identify what weed species are present and the optimal time to make postemergence applications. See https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/dry-conditions-will-impact-early-season-weed-control for detailed information.

Potato Volunteer Management - Volunteer potatoes can be hard to manage, we will learn about options for control and daughter tuber suppression. Results from our research demonstrate as the size of volunteer potatoes increased control decreased. When applications were made to small volunteers (<6 in) 60% of treatments resulted in one or no daughter tubers produced per plant. When applications were made to medium (6-12 in) or tall (>12 in) only 25% and 0% of treatments resulted in one or no daughter tubers produced per plant.

See https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/options-for-controlling-volunteer-potatoes for detailed information.

For more information contact Dr. Erin Burns: Burnser5@msu.edu, 612-991-2849
Colorado potato beetle management in potato
RNAi insecticides have a new mode of action that kills insects based their genes. This new group of insecticides are on the horizon, but let’s find out the latest about them for Colorado potato beetle management. There is an RNAi insecticide currently being developed for Colorado potato beetle and is under review by EPA but it is not known when it will be available to growers. This insecticide is applied as foliar sprays, can be tank-mixed with other insecticides, kills both adults and larvae, it only kills Colorado potato beetles, and becomes active when insects consume leaf tissue that’s been treated. This technology does not prevent insecticide resistance developing in Colorado potato beetles so it will need to be used as part of an integrated pest management strategy.

It is important to understand the implications of climate change on insect lifecycles. For Colorado potato beetles, warmer winters can lead to greater overwintering success and warmer summers can speed up the development of generations on the crop. With warmer winters, the problems with volunteer potatoes surviving in field crops is expected to become more problematic. It is also likely that insecticide resistance will be altered with warmer summers, since heat tolerance and insecticide resistance might share underlying genetics and warmer winter temperatures can lead to beetles overwintering with a heathier immune system. In addition, insecticide efficacy might be lower due to warmer temperatures facilitating the breakdown of chemicals, thus reducing beetles to sublethal doses.

Colorado potato beetles on potato volunteers in cornfields can be managed with products that are registered for use in field corn and are able to kill Colorado potato beetles. Many pyrethroid insecticides are commonly used in field corn but Colorado potato beetle populations are known to be resistant to this class of insecticides in Michigan. Some newer insecticides that could work if pyrethroids fail, are Radiant/Blackhawk and Coragen.

View the Colorado Potato Beetle Handouts

For more information contact Dr. Zsofia Szendrei: zsofia.szendrei@gmail.com
Advancements in Potato Pathology, Nematology, and Storability

Variety Commercialization
As a chip potato grower, we believe by incorporating Mackinaw and Petoskey into your variety portfolio you will increase economic return to your operation while delivering increased raw product quality to your customers.

Mackinaw: can be used late out of the field or from season long 46-48 °F storage, will yield better than Lamoka, has a higher specific gravity than Lamoka by 3-5 points, has similar common scab tolerance to Lamoka, has very strong PVY resistance, has few internal defects, is not as susceptible to storage breakdown as Lamoka.

Petoskey: is a common scab resistant Snowden replacement with 3 points higher specific gravity than Snowden, great skin set and skin type, chips well out of 46-48 °F storage March through May, has excellent storability and tuber type.

For more information contact Chris Long: longch@msu.edu,  (517)-256-6529