Mar 18, 2019Wet winter causing delays in potato planting around the country
An extremely wet winter around the U.S. is quickly turning into a soggy spring, which is hindering potato planting efforts.
Overall, the 2018-19 winter was the wettest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The central and eastern states were hit especially hard.
North Carolina potato farmers are a good month behind planting because of excess moisture in their fields, according to the Augusta (Virginia) Free Press. Virginia growers aren’t nearly as far behind, but are concerned because a delay in North Carolina harvest could disrupt staggered patterns of when each state’s crop hits the market.
“But there’s a lot of water standing in the fields over here right now,” David Hickman, a Virginia potato and grain producer, told the Augusta Free Press. “We’ve had two days of fieldwork since probably the second week of December. That means no spreading of manure or top-dressing wheat; the fields are just too wet to put equipment in.”
While the state of Washington didn’t experience as wet a winter as some eastern states, recent snowfall is delaying planting for growers there. KEPR, a television station based in Pasco, reported that planting likely won’t begin until late March.
“It’ll probably be another 14 days at least,” longtime grower Kent McMullen told the station on March 13.
Farmers in the Red River region of the north-central U.S. are preparing for flooding, reported the Red River Farm Network.