OTHELLO, Wash.-Washington State University's potato field day will start at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, June 27, at the WSU Othello Research Center, 1471 W. Cox Road. The day will celebrate 50 years of Washington commercial potato seed lot trials and a longstanding university partnership with the Washington State Potato Commission.
"The purpose of the trial is to annually assess the disease load found in commercial potato seed lots," said WSU Extension horticulturist Mark Pavek. "It is the centerpiece of the WSU potato field day. Growers and seed growers attend and are able to network or discuss results from the trial in person and on site."
For years, potato seed has made its way from Montana, Idaho and throughout the U.S. and Canada to take root in the fields of the Othello research center. The resulting potatoes undergo inspection for disease and other growth-compromising factors.
The field day will provide commercial potato growers, seed growers and industry, university and government personnel with an opportunity to interact with each other as well as learn about the successes of different varieties during the growing season. The event will facilitate discussions about potato cultivars, fertility and disease and pest management, said Pavek.
Special to the 2013 field day is the gift of three new center pivots worth $170,000 that will provide an updated irrigation system at the research farm. The state potato commission donated the system, which WSU researchers will use for the first time this year.
The day will begin with official thanks to the commission for the donation and 50 years of partnership on the seed lot trial. A ribbon-cutting for the updated irrigation system will follow, and then the annual seed lot report from Pavek and tours of field research trials. The event will end following a luncheon sponsored by the local industry and the Washington State Potato Foundation.
A detailed schedule may be found at http://www.potatoes.wsu.edu.