Update 5 – May 9, 2020

Yi Wang, Assistant Professor & Extension Potato and Vegetable Production Specialist, UW- Madison, Dept. of Horticulture, 608-265-4781, Email: wang52@wisc.edu.

This spring I started a YouTube Channel – extension vlog entitled “Proud to be a spudbadger!” to record the potato and vegetable growing season: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxPSaKNwmbod_- 47N1pyNYg/

There are currently 2 videos: seed cutting and planting. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, I can only shoot videos on our research farm, but it will be a miniature of commercial production. I will use our research plots to monitor and share with you the progression of potato and vegetable crop growth this summer. I welcome you to subscribe to “Proud to be a spudbadger!” and provide feedback.

Some more updates on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on 2020 potato production – although there was a rush on potatoes at grocery stores early on, the stockpiling has levelled off and has not been sufficient to make up for plummeting sales of potatoes and potato products (French fries, tater tots, hash browns) through foodservice channels, where 4 in ten U.S. restaurants are closed, as are schools, hotels and workplaces. Because of that, a lot of frozen potato processing plants are shut down or running on reduced schedules. In Wisconsin it is noted that processing contracts have been cut by about 25% for the 2020 crop. Frozen processing contract cut in Idaho and Washington might be even worse.

For potato growers, preparation for this field season started in the previous year, and thus, some growers have to take on the loss of over-ordered seed that are not needed. A wet spring and fall made 2019 a tough year for growers in Wisconsin, who were hoping things would turn better in 2020. The potato industry will be bracing for more losses this year if things don’t change for restaurants shutdown and the pandemic. It is estimated that planted potato acreage in WI will decrease by about 5% in the 2020 season.

Due to the above reasons, and the favorable weather conditions in April and early May, most farms have finished or are close to be done with planting in Central Wisconsin. Seed growers in Antigo were also able to start on a normal schedule, compared to the previous two abnormal years.


Amanda Gevens, Dept. Chair, Associate Professor & Extension Specialist, UW-Madison Plant Pathology, gevens@wisc.edu, Cell: 608-575-3029

The risk of potato volunteer survival is moderate for central WI. This tool from Michigan State University (https://www.canr.msu.edu/psbp/resources/disease-tools/volunteer-survival) calculates risk based on soil temperature over winter months. Surviving volunteers pose risk for introduction of the late blight pathogen into the new field season. Monitoring and managing volunteers can limit disease risk.


Brian Hudelson, UW-Plant Pathology Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic Director

New UW-Madison Plant Disease Diagnostics Clinic Listserv: The UW-Madison Plant Disease Diagnostics Clinic (PDDC) provides expertise in diagnosing plant diseases, and information on plant diseases and their control to agricultural and horticultural producers and businesses, as well as home gardeners, throughout the state of Wisconsin. If you are interested in receiving regular updates on the educational materials and programs provided by the PDDC, please email Brian Hudelson at pddc@wisc.edu to have your email address added to the new clinic listserv, “UWPDDCLearn”. This listserv will provide announcements of when new content is posted to the PDDC website (https://pddc.wisc.edu/), including (but not limited to) new and revised University of Wisconsin Garden Facts/Farm Facts/Pest Alerts fact sheets, the Wisconsin Disease Almanac (a weekly summary of diagnoses made at the PDDC) and monthly clinic web articles. The listserv will also provide announcements about upcoming PDDC outreach programs. The PDDC also provides similar updates and information via Facebook and Twitter @UWPDDC for anyone who prefers to receive information via these platforms. The PDDC is part of the Department of Plant Pathology in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as the University of Wisconsin- Madison Division of Extension.


Management Guide

Our production guide is updated every October with release of a new guide in January. The book can be downloaded for free as a pdf at the link below, or can be purchased online for2020 University of Wisconsin Madison Extension Commercial Vegetable Crop Production $12.50. https://learningstore.extension.wisc.edu/products/commercial-vegetable-production-in- wisconsin


View this update as a PDF