NDSU Extension Potato Program Connects to Growers in Multiple Ways

Tater Talks. The Spud Scoop. Potato Field Days. Spudology.

If you grow potatoes in North Dakota or Minnesota, you might be familiar with some of the ways North Dakota State University and University of Minnesota Extension potato agronomist Andy Robinson connects Extension information to growers and commodity groups.

“Coming up with clever names for all the ways we share Extension information is just part of the fun,” says Robinson.

Whether it’s sharing the latest potato news in The Spud Scoop newsletter, sharing social media content using his @Spudology Twitter handle, connecting with growers one on one at local Tater Talks, or discussing the latest variety trial data at Potato Field Days, Robinson takes helping potato growers very seriously.

Robinson does that in two ways: by conducting industryrelevant research and using a mixture of traditional and social media to share Extension information.

Robinson adds, “I believe that the questions we receive from growers influence the research we do, and then the results of that research inform our Extension information. One leads to the other.”

One potato issue that NDSU Extension is leading the charge on is herbicide injury.

Herbicide injury in potatoes generally reduces yield and quality and ultimately results in malformed and unmarketable potatoes.

“This is a huge issue in the potato industry,” says Robinson. “We’ve focused a lot of our research and Extension programming efforts on helping growers understand how herbicide injury happens and how to reduce it.”

Matt Van Ray of Van Ray Farms in Pingree, N.D., is one of the many growers who rely on NDSU Extension’s and Robinson’s information to improve their production practices.

“We especially appreciate Extension’s nonbiased point of view on things like fertilizer and weed control,” Van Ray says. “Andy is really good about making research applicable to growers, and he’s been a great resource when it comes to disease and herbicide questions.”

“The potato industry is a small industry with high needs,” says Robinson. “As a potato agronomist, I never know what questions I might be getting from day to day, but it’s very important to me to try to find the answers for our growers and solve problems that might be detrimental to the industry.”

Andy Robinson, 701-231-8732, andrew.p.robinson@ndsu.edu

Top of page