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Best Practices for Seed Potato Handling

Chuck Bornt, Team Leader, Extension Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

April 20, 2018

I know a few of you have already received your seed potato orders and I think many more will be arriving this week; here are a few thoughts about seed handling and cutting.

First, I understand that when we pay for seed we want to use everyone - but, consider the price of cutting and planting diseased seed?  I continue to see more diseases like Silver Scurf (which tends to show up more in storage after harvest) every year.  Grade hard and if you see anything that doesn't look right, err on the side of caution and get rid of it.

Cutting seed (information excerpted from University of Maines "Bulletin #2412, Selecting, Cutting and Handling Potato Seed"):

· Disinfect equipment including knives and mechanical cutters before each seed cutting session.  Keep knives sharp and straight to prevent ripping the potato surface.

· Warming seed:  Potatoes should be warmed to 45—50O Fahrenheit prior to cutting.

· Cut seed tubers into blocky pieces about 1.75 -2.0 ounces in size with at least one eye.  Pieces under 1.5 ounces should not be planted. Tubers weighing between 1.5 ounces but under 3.0 ounces should be planted whole. Tubers 3.0—5.0 ounces should be cut into two pieces; 5.0—7.0 ounce tubers should be cut into three pieces.

· Avoid blind pieces (no visible eyes) slab, sliver cuts or ripped pieces as they tend to have less vigor and may result in poor stands.

· Once cut, cool the cut seed to 38 to 40 degrees F and provide good air circulation with relative humidity levels at 85 to 95 percent for 6—10 days to promote healing and prevent dehydration.

· Re-warm seed again for two days before planting to get sprouts growing again and to avoid condensation on the seed.

· Cut potato seed is easily bruised and damaged areas allow decay organisms (on seed or in the soil) to infect the seed piece resulting in slower emergence and less stored energy to promote early growth.

For more information visit the following link to the University of Maine Bulletin 412: https://extension.umaine.edu/p...

Seed PotatoSize of potato piece affects early plant vigor. These are cuts to avoid if possible when cutting potato seed. (source: Bulletin #2412, Selecting, Cutting and Handling Potato Seed, University of Maine)
Size of potato piece affects early plant vigor. These are cuts to avoid if possible when cutting potato seed. (source: Bulletin #2412, Selecting, Cutting and Handling Potato Seed, University of Maine)
Veg News April 18th 2018 This article was published in the April 18th 2018 ENYCHP Veg News, to see the full newsletter click: https://rvpadmin.cce.cornell.e...



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Upcoming Events

Berry Production Twilight Meeting

Event Offers DEC Credits

July 8, 2021
Peru, NY

Rulf's Orchard, 531 Bear Swamp Road, Peru, NY 

Many berry topics will be discussed including growing Juneberries (Amelanchier, not strawberries), using entomopathogenic nematodes to control strawberry root pests, low tunnel production in June bearing strawberries, SWD monitoring and management. 2.5 DEC pesticide recertification credits available in categories 1A, 10, 22, and 23. Contact Elisabeth Hodgdon (eh528@cornell.edu or 518-650-5323) or Laura McDermott (lgm4@cornell.edu or 518-746-2562) with questions.

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Announcements

U-Pick Farm Practices During Covid-19 Pandemic

U-Pick is a critical direct marketing approach for many of our farms and provides
customers with a unique connection to fresh produce grown close to home. In light
of what we understand about the spread of COVID-19, new management practices
will be needed to protect your farm team and your customers. This document
provides recommended practices and communication strategies for U-Pick
operations for the 2020 season.

https://rvpadmin.cce.cornell.edu/uploads/doc_864.pdf

Growers-are you running low on fall pumpkins, etc?

The Produce Auctions located around the state may have what you need.  Check out all of the opportunities here: https://harvestny.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=4

Resources from CCE ENYCHP!

We are developing new ways to connect with the CCE ENYCHP team this year! We have a Youtube page located at this link. Check out videos on Table Grape Production, Pest Updates and the 20 Minute Ag Manager - in 4 Minutes series

We have a Facebook Page here as well as an Instagram page. We keep these places updated with current projects, events, and other interesting articles and deadlines.

There are also text alerts available. Fruit and vegetable farmers in 17 Eastern NY counties can now receive real time alerts on high risk disease and pest outbreaks texted directly to their cell phone. The Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture program, which is supported by local Cornell Cooperative Extension associations, will now offer text alerts to those that enroll in our program in 2019. 

The text alerts will be reserved for important crop alerts that could impact management decisions immediately. For instance, if there were an outbreak of Late Blight in the area, this would be transmitted to vegetable growers.

Farmers can choose the crop for which they wish to receive updates. Additionally they can request that Ag Business Alerts be sent to them. These alerts might include due dates for crop insurance deadlines, market opportunities etc.

If you have questions, please contact enychp@cornell.edu


Podcasts

“Understanding Fungicide Resistance and How to Avoid It” with Dr. Margaret McGrath

June 16, 2021
ENYCHP Veg News Farm and Field Updates with Teresa Rusinek
“Understanding Fungicide Resistance and How to Avoid It” with Dr. Margaret McGrath of Cornell University
In this this podcast ENYCHP vegetable specialist Teresa Rusinek interviews Dr. Margaret McGrath, of Cornell University School of Integrative Plant Science, to discuss the development of fungicide resistance in plant pathogens and steps growers can take to avoid it.
Resources:
https://www.vegetables.cornell.edu/pest-management/disease-factsheets/general-guidelines-for-managing-fungicide-resistance/
Vegetable Pathology – Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center (cornell.edu)
The Cucurbit Downy Mildew Forecast Homepage
https://cdm.ipmpipe.org/

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