Potato production will be focus of upcoming field day at MSU Montcalm Research Center

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Potato production will be focus of upcoming field day at MSU Montcalm Research Center

LAKEVIEW, Mich. – Potato production will be the main topic of discussion during the annual MSU Montcalm Research Center field day Aug. 8. The event will feature a meeting of the Michigan Potato Industry Commission (MPIC) research committee in the morning and tours of the facility and research plots in the afternoon.

Chris Long, MSU Extension specialist in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, and liaison between MSU and MPIC, said he recognizes the value of the overall experience.

“The field day encourages important dialogue between researchers and the industry, and gives researchers a chance  not only to listen to the needs of the industry but to deliver MSU research that is working to address some of those needs,” Long said. “These conversations can guide administration and faculty projects to ensure that MSU is providing growers with the best information we can.”

Soil health and potato productivity will be discussed.

“MSU is working to better understand how potato production practices affect soil microbial communities, which are essential to productivity and crop quality,” he said. “Gaining a better understanding of the relationships is absolutely a research priority.”

The MPIC research committee will meet from 9:30 a.m. to noon to discuss research updates. The meeting will also provide growers and researchers an opportunity to discuss priorities, developments and industry issues.

A catered lunch will be provided at noon, followed by a tour and discussion of ozone usage in the potato storage facilities beginning at 1:30 p.m. Tom Allen, of Guardian Integrated Technologies, and Todd Forbush, of Techmark Inc., will discuss the ozone injection project being conducted at the MPIC Demonstration Storage Facility. Using ozone in potato storage controls diseases by breaking down pathogens on the potato surface.

The afternoon will conclude with a tour of the MSU research plots from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.  Potato pathology, variety development and commercialization, potato fertility, soil health and crop microbial diversity, and seasonal environmental impacts will be discussed along the way.

The tour will include research plots that are part of a Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development-funded Specialty Crop Block Grant. The project, “Development of Baseline Soil Data as an Ecological Foundation to Reverse Yield Decline in Michigan Potatoes,” aims to survey growers about their perceptions of soil health issues, identify representative fields for testing and then perform laboratory analyses of soil samples. This long-term potato crop management experimental research trial began earlier this year. It is being coordinated by MSU researchers William Kirk, Noah Rosenzweig and Kurt Steinke as part of a collaborative effort between Michigan State University’s Project GREEEN and MPIC.

For more information on the field day or the center, please visit http://agbioresearch.msu.edu/centers/montcalm.


MSU AgBioResearch engages in innovative, leading-edge research that combines scientific expertise with practical experience to generate economic prosperity, sustain natural resources, and enhance the quality of life in Michigan, the nation and the world. It encompasses the work of more than 300 scientists in seven MSU colleges—Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arts and Letters, Communication Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Natural Science, Social Science and Veterinary Medicine—and has a network of 13 research centers across the state.

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