Preventing Over-watering and Protecting Fry Color

Published online: Nov 22, 2019 Articles, New Products
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John Vaadeland is an experienced Minnesota-based agronomist and crop consultant who works with potato growers across the northern Great Plains region.

The Problem

Growers producing potatoes for the fry market must apply water and fertilizer with high precision to meet the exacting standards of large corporate buyers, such as McDonald's. The ideal potato is light in color and absorbs little oil, producing a light, crispy french fry—whereas potatoes that experience even slight or brief episodes of water stress can have a darker color and produce a soggier fry.

The Solution

Vaadeland now works with Ceres Imaging to provide his customers with actionable insights on the health of their crop in-season. One customer in North Dakota discovered irrigation issues in a quarter of the fields flown—ranging from clogged nozzles and lines to wrong-sized sprinkler packages. Pinpointing the problems early in the season allowed Vaadeland to correct the equipment issues before overwatering or underwatering damaged the quality of the customer’s crop.

The Outcome

Ceres Imaging uncovered irrigation issues in 25 percent of fields flown, generating a $45-per-acre return on investment.