2014 potato industry study tour (PT13704)
What was it all about?
This project supported a 2014 potato industry study tour for nine Australian potato growers and agronomists to visit major potato growing regions in the United States and Canada.
The group spent time in Idaho, which is one of the largest potato growing regions in the world. Growers visited some large-scale operations and saw harvesting of processing potatoes. They met with researchers at the University of Idaho Research Station to learn about key biosecurity threats to potato production, and the research being conducted to combat them.
In Washington, they visited a highly advanced and efficient seed processing plant before travelling into Canada to the major potato growing province of New Brunswick. They visited the New Brunswick Plant Propagation Centre, the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Potato Research Centre, and an Agricultural Certification Services lab.
In the New Brunswick potato belt, a region in the south of the province responsible for growing the majority of New Brunswick’s potato produce, they visited several seed and processed potato growers, as well as an innovative packaging and distribution facility.
The final leg of the tour was to Prince Edward Island, which produces over one million tonnes of potatoes annually. They visited the island’s Inspection and Disinfection Station, where quarantine and standards inspections are carried out on all potato movements.
Growers had many opportunities to learn from their international counterparts and consider implications for their businesses. They benefited from learning about the practices of the larger operations and about the strict biosecurity measures taken to protect the industry. They reported that Canadian production was particularly informative, with conditions more similar to Australian growing regions.
You can read more about the study tour on p26 of the Dec 2014/Jan 2015 edition of the levy-funded Potatoes Australia magazine