Oct 23, 2018Snow may have saved Red River Valley crop
The Red River Valley received 6 to 17 inches of snow on Oct. 10 followed by temperatures that dipped to as low as 9 degrees in Grand Forks the following morning. Both snowfall and temperature records were shattered. For the next week, temperatures dipping into the mid to low 20’s at night were common. Most growers and potato industry experts agreed that the remaining 22 percent of the fresh potato crop still in the ground may have been lost.
But over the next week, temperatures returned to more fall-like norms and the rain and snow stayed away. Potato growers took their harvesters to the fields to see what could be salvaged. Many have been pleasantly surprised and are digging mostly high quality, undamaged potatoes. There will be some losses as some potatoes near the top of the hills have been nipped. It will be a while before definitive losses can be determined, some losses may not be realized until after potatoes have been in storage for some time.
But for now, it seems the big snowfall on Oct. 10 may have been the saving grace for more than 4,000 unharvested potato acres of in the valley. The heavy snow created an insulating blanket for potatoes still buried beneath the rich soil of the Red River Valley. The harvest should continue for the next week to 10 days as favorable weather is expected.
Source: Ted Kreis, Potato Bytes; Northern Plains Potato Growers