AgronomyCrop ProductionIsland potato growers happy with harvest

Island potato growers happy with harvest

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Even with rain in the forecast for last weekend, and the potato harvest on the MacLean family farm in West Devon running late, Glen MacLean wasn’t sounding any alarm bells on Thursday, Oct. 20.

“At this point it is not a big concern,” said MacLean, “because the water table is low.” Even a half an inch of rain would not delay the harvest for more than a day, he suggested.

MacLean said they were a little later than normal getting the crop in this year, so, to make up for that, they delayed the harvest a little bit and were able to reap an average yield because of that wait. He described the quality of the crop as good.

Another eight to 10 days of digging should wrap up the farm’s harvest, MacLean said.

P.E.I. Potato Board general manager, Greg Donald, estimated close to 85 per cent of the Island’s potato crop would be out of the ground by the time harvesting equipment shut down for the night Thursday, Oct. 20.

Some growers have already put their harvesting equipment away for the year, he reported.

Even in the western end of the province, where soil conditions are normally heavier, Donald said the harvest has progressed to the point that some growers are already wrapping up.

Donald said growers ordinarily hope to finish up around the 24th of October while still having the last week of the month to make up for any unexpected delays. He suggested most growers will hit that target.

Peter Griffin at WP Griffin Inc. in Elmsdale estimates three or four harvesting days next week will conclude his farm’s digging operations. They usually finish up around the first of November, but Griffin said they are running a little ahead of schedule. “It’s been a great fall,” he said. He described the yield as decent and the quality as good.

MacLean said the dry weather has made for easy digging but he admitted it’s presented some storage challenges, requiring more ventilation effort to cool down the spuds in storage.

Donald said the only real blip to the harvest was the up to 130 mil of rain that fell on some parts of the province on Thanksgiving Day. Some farms got considerably less rainfall than that and were back at the harvest the next morning while others were hed up for as much as a day.

“We’re going to hope we don’t get a lot,” Donald said of the rainy weekend forecast.

Year-to-date movement of spuds to harvest is a little ahead of last year and the price is also a bit better, Donald reported.

Source: Journal Pioneer

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