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Major potato harvest starting this week

Manitoba's potato farmers have started with major harvesting this week.

Vikram Bisht is an Industry Development Specialist with Manitoba Agriculture.

"The harvest has started and growers are putting the product into storage now," he said. "Basically, today [Monday] is the first day when the major harvesting will be for many of the growers. Some did start last week and earlier. Especially the fresh market and direct from field to processing. But for the storage potatoes, the harvest is basically just beginning this week. About five to ten per cent of the crop may have been harvested depending on the estimates that I have been able to gather. The harvest weather is pretty good...things are going to cool down, which is going to be very good. Hot weather does not help."

Bisht says the soil moisture situation is looking good.

"There is plenty of moisture in the ground. There has been some need for irrigation for the crops which are still green. There has been no shortage of water at the moment. I think we'll finish up well."

He commented on early yield numbers.

"The yields have been average. The varieties that are being harvested currently are the rather earlier maturing varieties as compared to the long duration Russet Burbank and that one will take a few more days to catch up to the average crop. Delayed planting for the majority of the Russet Burbank could bring down the average but currently it is not bad."

Bisht says the risk of late blight is very low because of the warm, dry conditions.

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