High Priority

Research continues to be focus in Michigan

Published online: Aug 07, 2018 Articles Mike Wenkel, Executive Director, Michigan Potato Industry Commission
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This column appears in the August 2018 issue of Potato Grower.

The words “provide research and sustainability direction” are at the heart of the Michigan Potato Industry Commission’s (MPIC) strategic goals and provide a clear direction for the commission’s continued investment in potato research. Our new and continued research efforts provide Michigan a clear path for future sustainability and success.

Following is a list of some of the most promising projects under way for the Michigan potato industry:

Variety Development and Evaluation

We are very excited with the continued development of new varieties of chipping and specialty potatoes. Newly released chipping varieties include Manistee, Saginaw Chipper (MSR061-1), Huron Chipper (MSW485-2) and Mackinaw (MSX540-4), along with a red variety called Royal Red (MSX569-1R).

New Potato Grading Line

The MPIC, in cooperation with Michigan State University and researchers, have invested in the purchase of a new grading line on Michigan State’s campus that will improve the quality and detail of tubers from research projects. This will allow researchers to be more efficient and allow more streamlined data collection on each tuber.

On-Farm Trials

The 2018 field season includes over 40 trials being coordinated by the industry that include new variety evaluations for chip and fresh utilization, developing management recommendations for volunteer control, alternative nematicide trials, and other product trials.

Michigan Potato Field Days

The state’s three field days—on Aug. 9, 28 and 29—highlight the depth of Michigan potato production and focus on regional production. The Montcalm field day on Aug. 9 will focus heavily on chipping varieties and highlights research at Michigan State’s primary potato research facility. The Presque Isle field day on Aug. 28 and the Upper Peninsula field day on Aug. 29 will focus on Michigan’s assortment of table-stock varieties.

Soil Health Initiative

Michigan’s soil health initiative in potatoes began in 2012 with the goal of improving the soil conditions in potato production rotations. Today, a variety of researchers are working individually and collectively on a research centered on rotations, soil additives, pest management tools and techniques to continue improving the industry.