Potato growing conditions across Canada have flipped from where they were a year ago, the July 22 crop update from the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) says.
The four main potato regions in eastern and central Canada have received good moisture levels throughout the growing season, while the four western provinces have been extremely hot and dry.
Prince Edward Island
The potato crop in Prince Edward Island is looking excellent with good canopies, UPGC says. The crop has received good moisture with rows reaching full closure and some fields in the tuber imitation and sizing stages.
“The season is a long one yet, but the crop does have great potential,” the report notes.
New Brunswick’s potato crop is looking excellent having received lots of rain to date, the report says. The crop is about two weeks ahead of schedule with the fresh potato harvest already happening in the southern part of the province.
“Canopies have filled in nicely and more rain is in the immediate forecast.”
The potato crop in Quebec is looking good after having ideal growing conditions with warm temperatures and frequent showers. Early planting has allowed for full row closure in most fields, UPGC says.
“The region north of Montreal is a bit drier but some supplemental irrigation is taking care of replenishing moisture,” the report notes.
Table potato harvest started on July 4, with good yields and quality being reported.
Ontario’s potato crop is looking good currently with lots of moisture. There have been a few isolated areas which have received excessive moisture causing flooded acres and damaged fields, the report says.
“Irrigators are thankful for the water to take some pressure off their very busy jobs these days. Growers are also working diligently to keep their crop healthy with ideal conditions present for disease.”
New crop harvest for table potatoes has just started.
Fresh potato growing regions of Manitoba are experiencing a severe drought with very hot and dry conditions, the report says. Many irrigation reservoirs in the Carman and Winkler areas are empty with potato yields being substantially affected.
“With current conditions, half a crop could be the outcome and with some rain, the expectation could move to three quarters of a crop at best,” UPGC says.
Processing potatoes in the main growing region of the province are looking better. The report notes Manitoba will need to import potatoes into the province to meet the increased processing demand until local potatoes are available in mid-August.
It has been hot and dry in Saskatchewan this year, UPGC says. The excessive heat has dropped the set under canopies and could reduce yields.
“Smoke from wildfires in recent days has at least lowered nighttime temperatures to 20 C, providing a bit of relief.”
The northern growing region of Alberta started out with excellent soil moisture reserves from last fall, but haven’t received rain since the start of June with plants now beginning to wilt and show signs of stress.
“It is also unusual to see such high temperatures in the northern region, with this season now experiencing 14 days above 30 C,” the report notes.
In the central areas, conditions are better having received more rainfall. The southern portion of the province, however, has been hot and dry.
“Reservoirs in the area have not been this low since 2002. Potato vines are stressed and 80 to 90 per cent of the crop has dropped its first set of tubers. The province will need all the additional 7,000 acres planted this spring to meet its needs.”
The potato crop started off good in British Columbia with early planting and good moisture, UPGC says. However, the first half of June was cool and wet meaning many fields didn’t get a jump start on growing.
It has been hot and dry since June 15, with temperatures in the seed growing area being very high.
“Those with irrigation were concerned with shocking the hot plants with cold water. Early harvest in the Chilliwack area began on May 20.”