Idaho Seed Growers Concerned

Published online: Jun 14, 2002
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>Idaho seed growers, discouraged and many lacking enthusiasm to plant this season, are concerned for not only their future markets but several other factors.

The last seed potatoes were planted this week in the Ashton area. Some growers started late and were caught by a rain/snow storm that put them back about a week.

Ashton reportedly lost two more seed growers this spring and the Teton Basin lost three. These growers ended their potato seed-growing efforts when seed prices plummeted after Simplot cut contracts in southern Idaho and some seed was turned back.

However, when Simplot reconsidered its decision and agreed to allow more acreage, prices went back up. However, seed growers were not able to take advantage of the higher commercial farm-gate prices, which hit $11/cwt this week.

Other concerns include the lack of water. When decreed water runs out, many Ashton growers will be expecting cutbacks on water pumped from streams and canals.

Growers are also concerned about DNA testing of seed for genetically enhanced traits that had been picked up in some lots. This seed had to be dumped.