Idaho plants first spud winter plots in Hawaii
By John O’Connell
Idaho Crop Improvement Association officials learned weather can also be challenging in Hawaii, the new home of their annual winter grow-out for testing seed potato lots.
The association made the choice last spring to move the test from its longtime home in Brawley, Calif., due to concerns about frost damage. The grow-out, an Idaho seed certification requirement, detects potato virus Y and other diseases in lots to help seed growers keep them as clean as possible.
Association Executive Vice President Doug Boze said the inaugural grow-out planting in Oahu, Hawaii, was delayed three days until Nov. 13 due to heavy rains.
However, Boze said the move should provide seed growers — who sent 900 seed lots for planting — results about a month earlier than before.
He said leaf sampling and visual inspections in Hawaii are scheduled to start during the week of Dec. 9. That process typically started in early January in California.
“It just puts them in a position to offer information about the status of those lots to their growers a little earlier,” Boze said.
Boze said higher costs in Hawaii will make the program more expensive, though he won’t know specific details until the grow-out is complete.
“I believe this is going to be a good place to do our post-harvest test,” Boze said. “The majority of the samples were already sprouting. They’re going to pop out of the ground pretty quick.”