UK Offers U.S. Growers Tech Transfer

Published online: Mar 23, 2004
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United States potato growers have until Friday, April 16, to join a stem-count-management research-technology-transfer project to be conducted jointly with the UK's Cambridge University Farm.

The National Potato Research and Education Foundation announced the project which is open to all United States growers. It will be paid by subscription. An initial project solicitation package will be sent this month to nearly 8,000 growers.

The project is intended to increase precision in growing potatoes, enabling growers to manage their crop to fit a specific target for any production sector: seed, table, chips, or processing.

Bart Connors of Basin Gold Cooperative in Pasco, WA, chairs the project steering committee. A director of the U.S. Potato Board and a Foundation trustee, Connors believes the project has the potential to generate real long-term benefits for the U.S. industry.

The project is subscriber-supported and grower-driven. "Our ability to realize the full potential of the project--to provide results that will be of use to as wide a range of growers as possible--is dependent on the number of growers willing to make that initial commitment to the research and its potential value to our industry," he said.

The Cambridge project, under the direction of researcher Eric Allen, has been funded by the British Potato Council. The current British research is the result of 35 years of seed physiology study.

The joint technology transfer effort brings to the United States both a chance to pursue greater consistency in crop performance and a chance to integrate the knowledge and seed physiology with all other aspects of agronomic management.

Research in the United States will be spearheaded by Allen and a U.S.-based research team including Neil Gudmestad, PhD., North Dakota State University; Bob Thornton, Ph.D., Washington State University, and John Wallace, Ph.D., CSS Farms.

(CSS Farms, founded in 1985, is primarily a chip-growing operation with locations in Nebraska (3), Texas (3) and South Dakota (1). It grows for Frito-Lay.)

An initial research briefing for subscribers is set for May 10-11 in Denver. Initial project-related planting is under way with a field day scheduled for August. First-year results will be reviewed at a subscriber briefing early in 2005.

Additional information about the project and subscription information is available from the National Potato Research and Education Foundation at (703) 610-9034 or by e-mail at

The U.S. National Potato Research and Education Foundation was established in 1983. The Foundation is coordinating programs and projects that enhance efficiencies and synergies to meet industry needs.

The National Potato Research and Education Foundation is the host organization for the World Potato Congress set August 20-26, 2006, in Boise, ID.