You may wonder what happens to all of those vegetables left in research plots after researchers have collected their samples for analysis.
At least one group at Texas AgriLife in Bushland harvests them and donates them to a local food bank, according to a news release.
This season, Charlie Rush, who is leading research into the potato disease, zebra chip, and his team harvested more than 38,000 pounds of potatoes and more than 1,100 pounds of squash to donate.
CSS Farms of Dalhart, a cooperator in the trials, loaned Rush's team a digger so they could harvest even more potatoes.
Depending on the county, the group loads them into 5-pound bags or bins.
The High Plains Food Bank distributed the produce to 171 agencies within 29 counties.
The zebra chip bacterium causes quality concerns for potato marketers and processors, but the pathogen is harmless to humans. The organism is not a food safety concern, either.
“When the project work is complete, there are many pounds of perfectly good potatoes just laying out there and we don’t want them to go to waste,” Rush said in the release.