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Manitoba potato harvest expected to hit records

After several years of below-average to poor harvests, Manitoba potato growers have finally caught a break.

“There have been some challenging years, so it’s nice to have a strong, good-quality crop,” said Susan Ainsworth, general manager of the Keystone Potato Producers Association. “They were due for a good crop.”

Why it matters: Potato yields were strong this year and all producers expect to fulfil their contracts.

According to projections, Manitoba’s final production numbers won’t just be good. They’re expected to be top tier.

The third-quarter report from the United Potato Growers of Canada put the province’s 2023 production at a record 28.2 million hundredweight, up 8.1 per cent from 2022.

It’s a stark contrast to what potato farmers have endured since 2018, a year when 5,200 acres were left in the ground due to wet harvest conditions. In 2019, winter came early, leaving roughly 12,000 acres in the ground. Storage losses compounded the issue.

In 2020 and 2021, it was drought. Contracts went unfulfilled. Last year, late seeding from a wet spring led to yet another disappointing year.

Despite consecutive years of challenges, figures showed 81,000 acres of potatoes were planted this year in Manitoba, a slight increase from the 79,500 in 2022. Harvested acres were predicted at 80,757, with yields expected to be average to above average at approximately 350 cwt. per acre.

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