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Cabbage crop faces field and market tests
Published August 25, 2004
Something fresh is rising a head in the Basin.
The local potato farmer is testing the cabbage
plants in Basin soils to see if the vegetable is a
commercially viable option.
Klamath County Extension Agents Rodney Todd and
Kerry Locke said the largest agricultural products
in the Klamath Basin are potatoes, alfalfa and
beef, with 12,000 acres of potatoes being the most
sizable row crop.
"When you look at San Joaquin Valley our growing
season is much shorter," Locke, the row crop
extension agent, said. "I don't think we'd have
any advantage over other areas growing cabbage.
We'd be locked into a short growing season."
And though the appearance of the new crop is very
different from his regular one, he hasn't run into
too many production curves in his cabbage patch.
Walsh is growing six different varieties of cabbage to see which will grow best here. He expects to harvest the plot in about a week.
Born and raised in the Basin, Walsh hasn't heard
of too many cabbage operations.
Both Todd and Locke said cabbages are a fairly
viable crop here. However, they agreed that
production viability isn't the thing to worry
"If there's not a market, a contract for it,
there's not much incentive for different things."
"That started in the late '80s, early '90s and
lasted for about 10 years," he said. "There were
about 6,000 acres of sugar beets grown. But the
plant closed," and that Basin market folded.
"Gas and diesel prices," he said. "That's a huge
part of the expense to produce a crop and getting
it to sales."
"Just kind of out there to see what we can find
out," he said. "Just taking it step by step."
Walsh's main crop is potatoes and he operates
about 250 acres for the fresh market, but says
he's open to diversifying his operation.
Some of the other crops he's tried over the years
have been organic potatoes and asparagus.
"It comes down to educating the consumers."
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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