Progress Report to the Agricultural Research Foundation
(Oregon Potato Commission)
Title: Klamath Basin Extension Potato Program
Program Leader: Kerry Locke
Klamath County Extension Agent
Cooperators: Al Mosley, Extension Potato Specialist, OSU, Corvallis
Ken Rykbost, Superintendent, Klamath Experiment Station, OSU,
Harry Carlson, Director, Intermountain Research and Extension
Center, UCD, Tulelake, California
Jeff McMorran, Extension Seed Certification Specialist, OSU,
Clint Shock, Director, Malheur Experiment Station, OSU, Ontario
Year Initiated: 1991
Funding for 2001-2002, this donor: $7,500
Over the past few years most concerns for production practices in agriculture in the
Klamath Basin have taken a back seat to poor markets and environmental politics. With
the loss of sugarbeets, potatoes are the basin’s major row crop. Klamath Basin potato
growers annually produce a $30 million commodity - high quality potatoes - on 15,000
acres of irrigated land. Potato late blight has arrived in the Klamath Basin and has the
potential to cause a total loss of potatoes in the field or in storage if not managed
properly. This formidable threat has negatively changed the economics of potato
production in our region. Growers are continually looking for improved production and
marketing practices to keep them competitive. Six potato packing sheds pack and ship
potatoes, making the Klamath Basin a major Oregon fresh potato production area.
Klamath is the largest certified seed potato producing county in Oregon with over a
thousand acres of certified seed potato production annually. The OSU Klamath Basin
Extension Potato Program works with growers and the agricultural industry in pest
management, production, and marketing. Extension is always searching for innovative
ways to enable producers, shippers, and the agricultural industry to keep abreast of the
Continue to develop multi-state programs as major annual educational event for growers,
agricultural industry, and the intermountain community. Establish and develop
educational events to provide recertification credit opportunities for consultants,
commercial and private applicators. Use the media, radio and TV, to communicate
agricultural topics of importance to the rural and urban Basin community. Provide
continued technical field service to growers in the Klamath Basin through identification
of potential problems and solutions. Provide growers, agronomists, packers, shippers, and
related personnel with timely newsletters on pertinent information. Provide liaison
between growers and campus-based technical services with appropriate follow up.
Provide leadership support to the Klamath Basin Potato Growers Association. Serve as
contact between growers, Oregon Seed Potato Committee, Oregon Potato Commission,
and OSU Oregon Seed Potato Certification. Provide liaison between researchers,
commercial suppliers, seed potato producers, commercial producers, regulatory agencies,
and other row crop industry personnel to develop pertinent data that address local
concerns. Work in cooperation with OSU, Klamath Experiment Station, UC
Intermountain Research and Extension Center, Tulelake, and other researchers and
extension workers in Oregon. Attend agricultural industry and horticultural educational
events, extension in-service training, and professional organization meetings to improve
technical and organizational skills.
Work closely with the Klamath Potato Growers Association (KPGA), the Oregon Potato
Commission, the university, the agricultural industry, and the intermountain community
to provide major educational events related to variety use and potato production including
pest management, marketing, and the environment. These include annual experiment
station field day, winter educational meetings, and spring tours for potato growers.
Because potato late blight is a major problem, support Dr. Clint Shock, Malhuer
Experiment Station, in adapting Blitecast, a late blight prediction model, to
environmental conditions that favor the development of potato late blight in our local
basin. The KPGA sponsored installation of two $4,700 Blitecast stations. Work with
growers to establish and maintain these Blitecast reporting stations. Since canopy wetness
due to weather or irrigation is a factor in providing late blight development, Water Mark
sensors were added to the Blitecast station sites to see if appropriate irrigation scheduling
could help reduce the risk of late blight outbreaks.
Work with Dr. Al Mosley to maintain potatonet and spudnet, international and grower
email discussion groups, to help keep growers, extension and industry potato workers in
computerized contact to facilitate the dissemination of the latest technical support to
potato workers. These email groups are regularly used and praised by subscribers. Use the
media, radio and TV, to communicate agricultural topics of importance to the rural and
urban basin community. Provide timely newsletters on pertinent information for growers,
packers, shippers and related personnel.
Serve as liaison between potato growers and campus-based technical services with
appropriate follow up. Provide leadership support as secretary to the KPGA and Klamath
Basin Fresh Direct. Facilitate contacts between growers and the Oregon Seed Potato
Committee, the Oregon Potato Commission, and the OSU Oregon Seed Potato
Blitecast stations, including Water Mark sensors, have been placed in 2 Klamath Basin
grower’s fields to collect local data for the Blitecast model.
Helped prepare EM 8589, which is used each year by producers, bankers and local
officials to estimate potato production costs. This publication also is being used recently
to figure out the value of production lost due to the cut-off of irrigation water.
Facilitated Oregon Potato Commission First Quarterly Meeting, 2001.
Educational activities, programs and publications are listed below:
2001. Calibration, Personal Protective equipment, Managing Chemicals Safely.
Presentation at Private Applicators Training. Klamath Falls, OR, 25 participants.
2001. Organized program for Intermountain Pest Management Seminars. Klamath
Falls, OR. 96 participants.
2001. Klamath Basin Water Crisis. Klamath Falls, OR. 15 participants.
2001. Family Farms in Global Markets. Facilitated Intermountain Agricultural
Issues Seminar. Klamath Falls, OR. 60 participants.
2001. Title transfer of Klamath Basin irrigation project. Meeting to discuss issues
with community leaders and agricultural community. Klamath Falls, OR. 20
2001. Klamath Basin Needs Assessment. Meeting to interact with community
leaders about water shut-off to agriculture and the effects on the Basin
community. Merrill, OR. 32 participants.
2001. Take Your Extension Skills to Other Countries. National Ugandan Potato
Program. Invited presentation at Extension Service Annual Conference, Oregon
State University, Corvallis, OR. 20 participants.
1993-2001. Klamath County Farm Exposition for Klamath County 4th graders.
Provide educational information on agriculture and master gardeners to Klamath
County Schools. 1400 participants.
2001. Potato Variety Development. Presentation to Pelican Elementary 6th grade
class, Klamath Falls, OR, 35 participants.
1992-2001 Chair and member, Intermountain Agricultural Conferences and
Seminars committee. I worked to produce annual educational events for growers,
agricultural industry, agency personnel, Oregon State University, and University
of California-Davis research and extension faculty. I developed slide sets,
PowerPoint presentations, and handouts specific for intermountain audiences.
1992-2001. Chair and member, Intermountain Pest Management Seminar
Committee. I worked with R. Todd, K. Rykbost, and H. Carlson to develop
educational materials including lectures, slide sets, PowerPoint presentations, and
handouts on pest management specifically for Klamath Basin growers, agencies,
1992-2001. Private applicator training and ODA testing. R. Todd and I developed
annual training event that includes videos, slide sets, PowerPoint presentations,
and handouts needed to keep the pesticide licensing process effective.
1992-2001. Klamath County Extension budget hearings. Educated commissioners
on the importance of OSU Extension to the county. Klamath Falls, OR.
Locke, K.A. 2001, January. Klamath Basin Potato Extension Program.
Proceedings 34th Annual Oregon Potato Conference. Portland, OR. pp. 22-23.
Locke, K.A. 2001. Klamath Basin Water Woes-What is Society’s Responsibility?
Oregon Potato Commission Newsletter 25(6):1.
Locke, K.A., & Rykbost, K.A. 2001. Modern-day Tragedy with Implications for
Growers Everywhere. Potato Country 17(6):8-10.
Locke, K.A. (2001). Spud Enemy No.1. American Vegetable Grower 49(2):26A-
Locke, K.A. (2001). National Ugandan Potato Program Review. 85th Annual
Meeting of the Potato Association of America. St. Augustine, FL, 40 participants.
Part of the Interdisciplinary Klamath Basin Crisis Assessment Team of OSU and UC
scientists charged with reviewing and documenting the results of water shut-off to
agriculture and the basin community. Coauthor of soils section. Facilitated Klamath Basin
tour and team meetings. Klamath Falls, OR. 125 participants.
Potato seedpiece treatment studies demonstrated potato seedpiece treatments significantly
controlled silver scurf when compared to the control. Local research shows that growers
with good seedpiece size distribution can realize a $200/acre increase in net returns. I
have presented these data at local winter schools, field days, and the Eighty-Second
Annual Meeting of the Potato Association of America, Fargo, ND, and they are published
both in the American Journal of Potato Research and in the Klamath Experiment Station
Annual Report. Over 150 copies of this report are distributed annually.
Conferences and seminars foster common ground for agencies and growers to interact on
sensitive issues related to the region. Klamath Basin growers, agricultural industry, and
university extension and research personnel were on hand to hear the various federal and
state agencies explain their situation as it relates to water needs. Agencies, growers, and
the basin community need to work together to assure water for various users. Those in
attendance came away with a better appreciation for and understanding of the complexity
of the issues surrounding the use of water in our intermountain region.
Local pesticide trainings improve successful applicant licensing by 20%, such that 70%
of first time applicants are successful. Annual updating with current information
increases safe and proper use of pesticides and protects environmental quality.
Relation to Other Research:
Klamath Basin Crisis Assessment Team. W. Braunworth, T. Gallagher, R. Hathaway, H.
Carlson, and K. Locke. 2001. Interdisciplinary team of OSU and UC scientists charged
with reviewing and documenting the results of water shut-off to agriculture and the Basin
community. Klamath Falls, OR. 28 participants. Coauthor of soils section. Facilitated
Klamath Basin tour and team meetings.
Intermountain Agricultural Conferences and Seminars. K. Locke, R. Hathaway, R. Todd,
K. Rykbost, R. Dovel, H. Carlson, S. Orloff, J. Dernbach, and C. Dalla. 1992-2001. Team
assembled to develop annual programs. My role was to chair and actively support
Tri-State Potato Variety Development Team. A. Mosley, K. Rykbost, E. Stastny Jr., and
K. Locke. 1996-2001. Team assembled to select superior potato varieties. I was a
2001. Toured Scottish extension potato agent around Klamath Basin potato fields.
Klamath Falls, OR. 4 participants.