PONTOTOC, Miss. (WCBI)-Agriculture professionals, consultants, and sweet potato growers converge on the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station. For them it’s a learning experience that leads to high yields of their sweet potato crop. Hoping to get the latest information on how to maximize their potato crop and by doing so sweeten up their bottom line, this experiment station is the place to be. Its an overall good year for the 100 commercial sweet potato farmers in the state.
“About 80% of our crop is excellent in good shape, we just need to get it to harvest. 20% is a little rough, a little patchy but overall the condition of the crop is excellent,” said Steven Meyers, MSU Specialist.
“And we just need a dry fall and you know a good digging condition to get them in storage and everything,” said Andy Landreth, Farmer.
At gatherings like this, the farmers are getting the best options for best results on insect and weed control.
“In which dual is a good control for nut sage if you can get it out before. If you get it out too early with the rain you might have some injury. And thats what the discussion was earlier,” said Jamie Earp, Farmer.
“In the long run we end up pulling a lot of them by hand you know and cleaning our fields out and stuff. We do a lot of hand labor. Pulling weeds, huckleberry, pigweed,” said Landreth.
They get up close and personal with the latest farming equipment.
“Its designed to undercut the, some of the smaller fibrous roots of the sweet potato to help encourage skin set on the sweet potato,” said Meyers.
“Well the potatoes, they are real light skinned and they’ll peel, and turn dark on you. And that way on the fresh market, they don’t like that type of skinning you know. Cause it turns darker, and they want a solid skin on them,” said Earp.
“One of the best ways for our farmers to learn about the research that we are doing is for them to get out here and see it experience the work that we’re doing at Mississippi State University,” said Meyers.
Some sweet potato farmers are harvesting this week and next week. Increased harvesting is anticipated after Labor Day.