Pacific Northwest Potatoes Are Halfway Planted; Tree Fruit Is Blooming

Monday, April 4, 2016
By: Kris Norwood, Communications
2016 Planting Season Update: Pacific Northwest

Stay connected with what’s going on in the field during #plant16 through this series of brief interviews with Crop Science sales reps in various regions. Keep checking back for more!

2016 Planting Season Update: Q&A with Paul Pargeter, Field Sales Rep at Crop Science, a Division of Bayer.

Paul Pargeter is focused on the areas of northeast Oregon and southeast Washington State with key crops being apples, potatoes, pears, hops, wine grapes, and cherries.

Can you give us a quick snapshot of what’s happening in the Pacific Northwest (PNW)?

“Approximately half of the potatoes in the Columbia Basin are in the ground. Tree fruit is either in bloom or will be at that stage in southern PNW growing areas in the next two to three weeks. Nighttime temperatures are in the high 20s, and frost fans have been getting a workout to protect new blossoms and sensitive buds. If you haven’t been around these machines, it is like an airplane propeller on a 40-foot pole that makes a lot of wind and noise but never takes off. In frost hotspots there may be several of these in one block.”

What’s on your mind these days?

“Organic fruit. The organic portion of the apple market is approximately 7 percent and growing. One of the large fruit growers in our area is claiming that it will be 50 percent organic by 2030, or in transition by that time. Another large grower is putting 1,000 additional acres into the three-year organic transition this year. Their organic production is not sufficient to meet demand. They explained that if a customer orders a truckload of fruit 90 percent conventional and 10 percent organic, they often have to source organic fruit from competitors to complete the order.”

What’s the top concern on growers’ minds in your area?

 “Last year, the biggest barrier to grower adoption of our new chemistries was MRLs.** Some countries – such as China and Indonesia – have complicated restrictions for imports, and as a result, fruit growers are being abundantly cautious about the chemicals they will use to treat their crops. Another issue for growers is pests. The two-spotted spider mite, which attacks pears, apples, wine grapes and other specialty crops, is building resistance to nearly all chemicals currently labeled for its control. Thankfully, Bayer has a few great products to control this issue.”

**An MRL, or maximum residue limit, is the highest concentration of a chemical residue that is legally permitted or accepted in food in a particular country.

Follow the planting season conversion using #plant16 on Twitter, and be sure to mention @Bayer4CropsUS!


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