Monday, October 15, 2018

Summer 2018

Hey Guys!

My name is Hannah Padgett and I'm a senior in Agronomy: Crop and Soil Management. This summer took me to the land of the potatoes. I was a field scout for Walthers Farm in Three Rivers Michigan. This was the first internship I had that took me away from home. My landlords for the summer lived on the lake with tons of acreage. So, I got to live in their apartment over their garage with my own garage to park my car. This apartment put me 15 minutes from work. This was the first time I had to "adult" for myself.

Within the first week I got to go to the packaging plant. I saw the potatoes get cleaned, not consumer perfect potatoes taken out, sorted by weight, then packaged by a very specific weight, then placed onto pallets to be taken out to the wholesalers. With it being a rainy session, we got to see the ending of the planting season. It was awesome to see the potato pieces being placed into the soil. Planting potatoes is a science. To plant a potato, it must be cooler. The potato pieces are kept in a climate controlled room at a cooler temperature till planting. Potatoes are normally planted into sandy soils. If you take those cooler pieces out of the barn into the blistering heat and then planting into the sand can lead to the plants suffocating since they begin to sweat.

I didn't know that this summer I would become a professional potato digger. Whether it was when the plants were younger or older we had to dig the plants out and check for a disease called rhizoc. We also scouted hard for weeds. The weirdest thing is these fields were sprayed twice a week for weeds along with other things. I'm used to fields being sprayed 2-3 times in a growing season. When the weeds became too bad we had to go out and hand pick them. We had to go out and eradicate a couple fields with Palmer Amaranth. Other things we scouted for was vine length and stand counts. Every Monday was Petiole Day. Within our teams we would go out to 20-30 fields and within a designated triangle area pull petioles and take soil samples.

One of the most interesting things I did was work on the line to help clean up the potatoes before they are taken away. That was a 12 hour day standing on my feet with fellow line workers. I got to stand on the line right where the potatoes came off the truck. My duties included pulling any plant material, weeds, and rocks off the potatoes flying by on a conveyor. During this time, I found out more about the other people helping in the section.

Boiler up!

Hannah Padgett