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Fluid Journal : Winter 2012
14 The Fluid Journal Winter 2012 Industry at work Setting is the challenging high mountains of Peru and overcoming ingrained traditional practices. The Fluid Journal • Ofﬁcial Journal of the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation • Winter 2012 • Vol. 20, No. 1, Issue # 75 First day of potato harvest outside of Pazos, Peru was an exciting time for native villagers to be in the fields, as well as for their guests. At an altitude of about 13,000 feet, those of us not used to these high mountains felt just a bit dizzy. The air was clear and crisp, slopes very steep, and soil as hard and as rich as one could imagine. A beautiful setting for American guests to participate in and share ideas and thoughts in the nation where potatoes originated. We were guests of Technolgia Quimica & Comercio (TQC), an agribusiness company located in Lima. We found ourselves among a group of traditional potato producers who were working with native varieties that had been developed by their Inca ancestors several thousand years earlier in these very mountains. Demonstrations and explanations were given on the use of tools for planting and harvesting. Our discussions included use of fertilizers, including fluids, as well as pest control measures being used to help improve yields. Better ways. Traditionally, all of their work has been accomplished by hand, including tillage, fertilization, planting applications, crop protectants as well as harvest and transportation. Although cultivating potatoes in these traditional ways, they were interested in how to improve production, and especially the introduction of new varieties that might be able to overcome some of their disease concerns (e.g., late blight that can be disastrous and seriously limit yields). They also were interested in some of the advances in nutrient management, including the use of enhanced efficiency fertilizers (fluids) for N and P. Organic limitations. The particular setting we were in was coordinated by Non-governmental Organization (NGO) from France that was supporting the traditional varieties of potatoes and processing them into chips and marketing them into stores in Paris and other parts of France. The group was interested in organic production, but also recognized the limitations of such production in this remote setting. While the coordinator valued the thought of using organic technology, it was done with the realization that organic production could only take production so far. Therefore, to improve yields they combined the use of organic inputs with enhanced N and P fluid fertilizers. Our challenge was to introduce modern potato production technologies into this setting. The value and contribution of improvements would be enormous and very important to improving the lives of these traditional producers. Their production yield goals at the time were about 9 tons/ha (50cwt/A). To increase this yield would require small steps and would be the focus of the University of Idaho (U of I) and J.R. Simplot Company. That is the value of a team effort to move concepts forward even into these remote settings of Peru. Sharing. TQC allowed us to share with them the challenges they face in making Summary: Although cultivating traditional potatoes, these native potato producers of Pazos Peru were especially interested in how to improve "production" (yields) and, especially, the introduction of new varieties and advances in nutrient management, including the use of enhanced efficiency fertilizers such as fluids--both nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). Although they expressed an interest in organic production, they also recognize the limitations of such production in this remote setting. We discussed fertilizer use, placement, new plant genetics, timing, as well as the use of additives. "Those of us not used to these high mountains felt just a bit dizzy" FFF Member Explores Ways To Improve Potato Yields
Early Spring 2012