Partners for better spuds: WSU’s 2019 Othello Field Day

Wright and Pavek standing next to an event sign.
WSU CAHNRS Dean André-Denis Wright and potato scientist Mark Pavek welcome growers to the annual field day.

Washington State University experts in horticulture, plant pathology, entomology, and cooperative Extension joined scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Northwest Potato Consortium, Oregon State University, and the University of Idaho for a day of shared knowledge and discovery helping regional potato growers.

The WSU Potato Field Day was held Thursday, June 27, 2019, at the WSU Othello Research Unit in Othello, Wash.

André-Denis Wright, Dean of the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, began the morning, welcoming growers, thanking partners from the Washington State Potato Commission and Washington State Potato Foundation, as well as team members at the Washington Agricultural Experiment Station, USDA, and the Tri-State Potato Variety Development Program, for their important research support for Washington’s $4.6 billion potato industry.

Wright also shared progress in bringing on needed potato-supporting scientists at WSU, including a planned Soil Health and Potato Cropping Systems Endowed Chair, contributing to the successful industry future.

Then, alongside rows of seed trials for better disease defense, scientists shared new knowledge in the fight against challenges like Potato Virus Y, black dot, and lygus bug, showed the latest in seed size studies aimed at helping growers maximize efficiency in planting, and looked at a new app being developed by WSU scientists that helps grow and sort spuds for ideal French-fry dimensions. In all, more than 20 scientists from across the Northwest made 15 different presentations on improved practices, research, varieties, and challenges.

Learn more about WSU potato research here.

People with cameras and sheets of paper walking through a field of potato plots.
Visitors view commercial seed trials during the WSU Potato Field Day.
Wright, Ellis and Knowles standing in a potato field, with Ellis speaking.
WSU CAHNRS Dean André-Denis Wright views a test plot with doctoral student Graham Ellis and faculty scientist Rick Knowles.
Ellis, left, and Wright, bend down for a close view of plants.
Wright gets a close look at potato traits with Ellis.
Group photo of scientists examining a potato plant in a field.
WSU plant pathologists Cynthia Gleason, Kiwamu Tanaka and Scot Hulbert examine seed trials at Othello.
A group of people in a field, viewing a demonstration.
Visitors to the WSU Potato Field Day view a seed size test led by Dr. Mark Pavek.
Photo of Tymon speaking outdoors
WSU plant pathologist Lydia Tymon discusses black spot at the field day.
Sangjan and Ortiz work with a laptop and a device inside a jar containing a potato
Doctoral students Worasit Sangjan and Milton Valencia Ortiz demonstrate their potato rot-detecting sensor.