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Potato Growers Dealing With Freeze Damage, Unharvested Acres

It was a challenging year for Manitoba potato growers.

Vikram Bisht with Manitoba Agriculture says there were over 5,000 acres unharvested (about 8% of total crop), with another 2,000 acres or more that were harvested with freeze damage. This was a result of the unpredictable weather in September and October, when many producers decided to delay harvest until it was too late.

Bisht noted that local processors are aware of the situation, and will be looking to other provinces and the U.S. to fill the void.

He talked about a major challenge going forward.

"The challenge for processing would be some of the potatoes that have already been harvested and brought into storage. They have to be monitored very carefully because the frozen potatoes, when they start thawing, they have to be dried out very quickly so that they don't leak onto the other potatoes and create more rot."

Bisht says in a normal year, there is usually about 500 to 1,000 acres that are left unharvested.

He notes producers will need to cultivate the remaining crop in the spring, adding most of those acres are in the western part of the province.

Source : Steinbachonline