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The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Storage Research Facility at Hancock Agricultural Research Station. Photo: Michael P. King

Additional photographs available at CALS Flickr

The Hancock Agricultural Research Station was established in 1916. It is a 412-acre vegetable research farm and has 9,000 square feet of facility space. Field trials at the station are related to potatoes, field corn, sweet corn, soybeans, snap beans, carrots, cucumbers and switchgrass.

The station is also home to the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Storage Research Facility. Erected in 2006 through a gift from the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association from funds donated by growers and industry, researchers use the facility to study ways to curb losses and improve the quality of stored potatoes and vegetables.

The facility has nine bulk storage bins that can accommodate the industry-standard 18-foot pile of potatoes and nine storage lockers for smaller volumes, each with its own climate control system. The facility also features a processing lab and a quality assurance lab.

Facility personnel conduct laboratory tests for growers, industry partners and insurance companies, including various potato quality assessments. Tests offered include sugar concentration, chip color, pressure bruise scoring, storage rot evaluation and many more. Commercial companies use these services to evaluate French fry and potato chip processing varieties, and growers use various tests to guide business decisions.