New crop potatoes in the western United States and Canada are heat-stressed due to the ongoing drought conditions, the July 15 issue of the North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says.
“Growers have been dealing with early-season, record-breaking heat for nearly five weeks with little relief in the forecast. Our sources indicate that the crop condition is mixed depending upon the location, variety, and planting date,” the report says.
Growers have been irrigating to keep crops hydrated but yields and quality are still expected to be reduced. NAPM says more than 88 per cent of the U.S. crop and 56 per cent of the Canadian crop has been impacted by drought conditions.
“The full impact of the drought on the 2021 crop remains to be seen, but it is certain to cause supply and demand challenges and opportunities that could impact markets until the 2022 crop is harvested,” the report notes.
A fourth heat wave in five weeks is expected to hit the western U.S. and Canada this week. Growers have said they’ve never experienced such a long stretch of high temperatures this early in the growing season, the report says.
“Reports suggest that some areas are seeing a significant amount of bacterial stem rot caused by the damp conditions underneath the canopy. Growers have increased fungicide applications in an attempt to prevent other diseases.”
The report notes some growers are planning to delay harvest by a week to give plants more time to recover, weather permitting.