Potato Grower

March 2023

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14 POTATO GROWER | MARCH 2023 W alk into any potato expo or potato conference with a vendor area, and aisles will most likely be lined with several companies offering growth stimula- tors, fertilizers, fumi- gants, biologicals, seed treatments and any number of other prod- ucts aim at helping growers produce a better potato crop. But how do you wade through all the information to determine what's best for your farm? The answer is simple, and one you've heard before: do your homework. We sat down with three bio- logicals experts from AMVAC (www.amvac.com) at the Na- tional Potato Expo in January, and asked their advice on how to navigate the sea of options when it comes to biologicals and how to create and maintain a strong soil foundation. Those experts were John Immaraju, senior director of product commercial- ization and international product development; Kyle Coleman, market development manager; and Ted Walter, U.S. Green- Solutions marketing manager. Since ours was a fairly free-ranging discussion, we won't be at- tributing any quotes or direct information to any one AM- VAC expert, but to the group as a whole. They provided their suggestions on choosing and us- ing biologicals on potatoes. There is some mention of fumigants but only in the context of developing an overall soil health plan. First, here are some points the group made about biologicals. The ex- perts pointed out that bio- logicals are a more nuanced level of plant growth regula- tion, providing economical benefits that more traditional numbers, say double digit yield in- creases, which might not be as evident. The experts said, "Biologicals are often assessed in terms of 'wins,' meaning an economic gain can be realized even if not statistically significant. Where biologicals are often quite affordable, a 'win' satisfies most growers as long as the results are consistent. A 'win' can be 1) even slightly higher yields in a hot, dry year, 2) better disease resistance, 3) better quality (size, taste, etc.) and 4) efficient fertilizer uptake through better root development." So let's dig into these three experts' four tips when considering biologicals. 1) Verify The Story This is an area where growers are definitely encouraged to do their home- work. If it's a new product being con- sidered, ask to see all the data, watching out for and being wary of "cherry picked data." If a company has a long track record of significant funding, there should be a significant amount of third party data. Company representatives should be well versed in the use patterns of the product and offer suitable recom- mendations based on local conditions. The Dig On Biologicals Th re e ex p e rts sh are tip s o n max imizin g u se

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