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Ground-penetrating radar could help producers dig potatoes early – AgriLife Today

COLLEGE STATION – Ground-penetrating radar might help the potato industry save water, according to Dr. Dirk Hays, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant geneticist in the soil and crop sciences department at College Station.

Dr. Dirk Hays, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant geneticist in College Station, is using ground-penetrating radar to test for early maturing potato varieties. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)

Dr. Dirk Hays, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant geneticist in College Station, is using ground-penetrating radar to test for early maturing potato varieties. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)

Hays’ latest project utilizes ground-penetrating radar to select early maturing potato cultivars, which can help producers make harvest decisions and increase water-use efficiency.

His project is in coordination with AgriLife Research and the department of horticultural sciences potato breeding program conducted by breeders Dr. Creighton Miller and Dr. Isabel Vales, both at College Station.

“We know radar will work on potatoes,” Hays said. “Radar works on detecting objects that are denser than the soil environment they are in. Potatoes are very moist versus the sandy soils they are grown in, so it’s relatively easy to image the potatoes with the ground-penetrating radar.”

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