Aug 14, 2019Late-summer potato crop progress reports from around the U.S.
Harvest 2019 is right around the corner for the major potato-producing regions in the northern United States. Here are a few reports from around the country.
In Idaho, below average temperatures, and even some frost, have caused problems for growers. That was after getting their crop in the ground late because of the wet spring, which seemed to be consistent around the country. Pat Kole and Travis Blacker of the Idaho Potato Commission reported that they were taking farm tours around the state the week of Aug. 12-16 and expected to have a better idea of how the crop is doing once they’re done.
“It’s been an interesting crop year. Several frosts and colder weather have set the crop back in development. I think most areas are seven to 10 days behind schedule. We still have several weeks left for growing, but we do expect yields to be off.” — Travis Blacker, industry relations director, Idaho Potato Commission
“The early crop is pretty close to average despite being planted three to four weeks late. Yields maybe off a ton and a half for the early crop compared to years past. But we have had near perfect weather this growing season. Visually, the crop looks beautiful. I think the longer season varieties are going to be outstanding!” — Chris Voigt, executive director, Washington State Potato Commission
Red River Valley
“Generally, the potato crop is looking good. The dry land potatoes are looking great in the areas with good rains, but the northern area is dry. Harvest is still a month away for the area. It doesn’t appear a bumper crop is in the future.” — Donavon Johnson, president, Northern Plains Growers Association
“The Wisconsin potato crop is quite variable to date, with most areas one to two weeks behind normal development. Some fields have excellent size and quality tubers, while others are still small and need to bulk up. A hail storm on Aug. 5 in Plover damaged a number of potato fields. On the positive side, significant acres of red and yellow potatoes in central Wisconsin are ahead of schedule and are looking very good. Overall, it is too early to tell how the majority of the crop will come out of the ground, since most of the harvesting will take place in September and early October.” — Tamas Houlihan, executive director, Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association
“In speaking to a few of the growers in the last three days, the early planted crop is looking good. The crop planted mid-point is seeing more growing issues and a lower yield. The late planted crop is catching up but will result either in growers pushing a late harvest or risking lower yield if harvest remains during the normal harvest season. Late harvest could lead to some storage issues.” — Kelly Turner, CEO, Michigan Potato Industry Commission
“We experienced a wet spring and it was a challenge to get started and finish planting. The chip potato growers in the southeastern and northwestern corners of the state started digging the week of Aug. 5. Both areas will be digging hard and trying to finish early Atlantics before heat necrosis starts setting in. Growers in the north central part of the state are concerned about storage potatoes getting enough size because of late planting dates. Overall, everyone has adequate rainfall and potatoes are looking good. Tablestock growers with early varieties are slowly getting started the week of (Aug) 19. Storage crop harvest for chips and tablestock will not start until early to middle of September.” — Nathan Tallman, executive director, Pennsylvania Co-Operative of Potato Growers
After planting late because of a wet spring, it’s turned into a dry summer in Aroostook County. Rainfall down nearly 50% from average since July 1. Still, the region’s rocky Caribou loam soil retains moisture well, which has helped tuber development stay at least close to on track. Check out our Maine report for more information.
“Reporters noted alfalfa harvest was also moving along and potatoes were doing well. A reporter noted that potato vines were showing maturity with a few fields killed in preparation for harvest.” Sixty-two percent of reports rated the current state of the crop in either “good” or “excellent” condition, with 33% rating it in “fair” condition. — USDA-NASS, Colorado Field Office report from Aug. 19
Top photo: Red potatoes at LaBrie Farms in St. Agatha, Maine, on Aug. 7