Oct 18, 2017
Wet weather in some areas as Midwest harvest wraps up

As the harvest season wraps up across the Midwest, producers are reporting solid yields and good tuber quality. Though the harvest is almost over, some wet weather has made getting the last of crop out of the ground a challenge in some areas of Michigan.

Sackett Potatoes, northeast of Grand Rapids, has harvested around 80 percent of its 6,250 acres of chipping potatoes. On Oct. 17, partner Alan Sackett said conditions were quite muddy with the area getting 3 to 4 inches of rain in the last 10 days.

“It will be a struggle to finish I think but we have some good weather coming the next few weeks,” he said.

Sackett said the quality of the crop has been mostly good with high gravity causing a slight amount of bruising.

Ryan Arsnoe, working in the office at Jenkins Potato Farm west of Traverse City and next to the town of Kalkaska, said they have been done with harvest for two weeks despite some harvest delays because of heat. He said that while the area has also been hit by wet weather and he’s aware of it causing delays at other operations, it came after Jenkins finished harvesting and now the crew at the farm has started packing.

“I guess we were just blessed,” he said.

The potatoes looked good with only a small number, mostly yellow potatoes, being pulled because of the heat, Arsnoe said.

Chuck Gunnerson, president of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association which is the marketing arm of Red River Valley Potatoes, said harvest was ongoing but they were in the final stages with around 95 percent of their fields already in.

“We’re putting away a very nice crop,” he said, saying yields were good on their chipping potatoes and above average on their yellow potatoes.

Gunnerson said wet weather hadn’t delayed harvest, though in September they had to cut down to some half days because of the heat. The rain actually helped growers since it had been quite dry all growing season, so the moisture they got at the beginning of harvest was needed to avoid dirt clods and keep from bruising the potatoes, he said.

— Scott Stuntz, managing editor






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