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07/19/05 Idaho potato growers optimistic
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Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: July 19, 2005

Last winter Idaho potato growers took action and formed a co-op which has been instrumental in reducing the number of acres planted in state and across the nation. Growers we spoke with last week at the National Potato Council meeting in Twin Falls say the reduction will help level the supply-demand curve.

ESPLIN A year ago there was actually a pretty good acreage reduction nationwide but then we come in with such big yields that it just blew the reduction out. Theres no doubt that we brought that supply in with demand and it should make for a much more profitable year.

Keith Esplin of the Potato Growers of Idaho says there could be record yields this year in southwestern Idaho but normal elsewhere. The Idaho potato growers are also looking at next year and beyond.

ESPLIN There are growers especially in eastern Idaho that plant every other year potatoes and thats hard on the soil, adds to increased costs as pests build up so weve been encouraging longer rotations. Theres good markets for alfalfa hay for the dairy industry, thats a great rotation crop. Some will plant another year of wheat in there, maybe longer term alfalfa. So there are other crops growers can plant.

Esplin is also encouraged by news that McCain Foods will not reduce its potato contracts for processing plants in Idaho and Washington.

Voice of Idaho Agriculture
Bill Scott

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