Comparisons of sustainable Best Management Practices, or BMPs (based on judicious inputs focusing on environmental and economic sustainability), with Maximum Yield Management, or MYM (based on “insurance inputs targeting maximum yield), were completed in 14 Pacific Northwest fields. The BMP approach proved to be financially advantageous in all but two fields in the trial. These results and the growers practicing BMPs were highlighted at three field days and in many workshops, publications, and radio/TV venues, resulting in significant on-farm changes in a large percentage (over 20,000 acres documented and many more planned) of Pacific Northwest potato fields.
1.) Compile a written and a web-based guideline of Best Management Practices for Sustainable Potato Cropping Systems in the Pacific Northwest.
2.) Refine the existing Ag Input computer spreadsheet into a user-friendly, stand-alone computer program that empowers growers to make informed decisions regarding fertilizer and pesticide inputs based on economics and sustainability.
3.) Assess initial and ending level of adoption of best management practices (BMPs) through in-person appraisal of 40 producers’ operations and a larger number of growers through the evaluation module of the interactive web-based guideline (see objective #1).
4.) Conduct on-farm field demonstrations with producers and publicize detailed case studies of these “model” growers’ successful implementation of sustainable BMPs.
5.) Stage an annual “Advanced Potato Production Workshop” featuring BMPs and crop, nutrient, soil, water, and pest management fundamentals.
6.) Facilitate farmer-to-farmer roundtable discussions to discuss success experiences, as well as obstacles encountered, during the implementation of sustainable BMPs.