Antigo Daily Journal
space
space Front Page Calendar & Events Classifieds News Obituaries Opinion/Letters Sports Subscribe
Memories of winter fade as growers kick into high gear, hilling spuds underway
space
It's moving into later June, with lingering thoughts of winter finally fading as temperatures nudge 80 degrees and farmers have taken to the fields.

Wisconsin growers and the crops they produce—especially potatoes—thrive on the region’s climate and on battling the odds and defeating what Mother Nature throws at them.

“When the remnants of March blew in the Central Sands, the tractors were ready, the potato growers were primed with new knowledge and ideas from their winter meetings, and the sheds were full of healthy seed potatoes ready to be inserted into that rich soil for another crop year,” Jeff Wyman, technical advisor for the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetables Growers, said.

“They waited, as farmers do so well, through most of April this year, and their patience was rewarded with a sunny and warm May that brought blossoms to the wind breaks protecting their fields and allowed them to show the world just how good they are at getting close to 50,000 acres of potatoes planted in a few short weeks.”

The situation was even later, but today the crop is flourishing, with Langlade County growers in the fields to “hill” the furrows, a necessary step in production, soon those early reds are ready to fill the landscape with an eye-catching display of white flowers.

Soon the freshly-dug, "new potatoes" will hit the local market, Wyman said.

“The mildly earthy taste of those young sweet tubers, drizzled with creamy Wisconsin butter is unrivaled by anything that a five star restaurant can offer,” Wyman said. “Cook them with a sprig of peppermint and pair them with fresh, early-June peas, likely also grown within a stone's throw, and you will discover a taste delight.”

Wyman said there will be further battles to fight as the growing season unfolds but these will also be overcome by the ingenuity and perseverance of the growers.

“Under those winter snows, the potato beetles dug deeper and survived; their offspring, who should now be thriving in the mild June temperatures, have been thwarted by the growers, who moved this year's fields away from last year's infestations,” he said. “The migratory pests and wind-blown pathogens are making their way north, but their progress is being charted daily and the growers will be ready to pounce when they get here.”

There will also be physical challenges as growers move into the heat of summer and using our water resources more wisely will be at the top of that list, including careful use of irrigation equipment.

“This is just one of the technological advances that have helped farmers to stay ahead of the productivity curve,” Wyman said. “We can be proud that in the 1960s, when irrigation began to expands, a typical farmer in the U.S. was able to feed just 26 people. Today that figure has climbed to a remarkable 155 people.”
space

A tractor hills potatoes in the field northeast of Antigo on Thursday.
2014 space
ANTIGO DAILY
JOURNAL
612 Superior Street
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

WEEKLY
JOURNAL
EXPRESS
612 Superior Street,
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

*Member WNA & NNA

space
Quick
News Search

Enter Key Word
space
space


Material on this web site has a
copyright by Antigo Daily Journal.
All rights reserved.
© 2000-2014
space