New Technology saves spud growers millions!

In the United States, Farmers embracing new technology have saved millions of dollars, according to Wcsh6 news, Mainegrowing-potatoes,

Maine potato growers are thriving thanks to a new technology developed by the University of Maine’s cooperative extension program.

The Pest Integrated Management program helped Maine potato growers save $17 million last year. Extension specialists track weather conditions at six weather centers across the state. That information is then used to figure out when late blight, a fungal disease, is likely to develop.

The specialists use the information to recommend when growers should spray fungicide on their crop to prevent diseases.

“We’ve really managed to minimize the pesticide usage in the state of Maine,” said Jim Dill, a cooperative extension specialist.

Growers say it’s the technology is helping more than just the environment. It’s helping them save money. In a typical year, Steve Crane, a potato farmer in Corinth saved about $60,000 thanks to the technology.

“Each fungicide application to me is about $15,000 for my farm so if I can eliminate two sprays that’s $30,000 less that I put out there,” said Crane.

For many growers who have been in the business for years, using technology was a little hard to embrace.

“My father and uncle were on the farm that were doing this since the ’60s and it was very difficult for them. I would say, ‘we don’t need to spray’ and they’d say: ‘get the sprayer going, we have to spray’ and I’d say: ‘No, no, we’re going to do this by science’,” Crane said.

The hotline for recommendations is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or farmers can view a website for the recommendations. You can read more herepotato-blight