Originally published November 11, 2019 on The Grower
By Karen Davidson
An August hail storm combined with an early frost have resulted in about 7,500 acres of damaged potatoes in southern Alberta.
“Not all of these acres will be lost but the return on these acres will be severely diminished,” reports Terence Hochstein in his November 2019 monthly newsletter column. “In talking with other growing areas across North America this past week, the only areas that are somewhat happy with how their 2019 crop turned out are New Brunswick/Maine, Quebec and Washington.”
New Brunswick/Maine has a slightly higher than average crop, with processors taking any open potatoes that are available. Quebec’s fresh tablestock crop is experiencing strong demand and pricing.
Prince Edward Island has completed harvest, with some acres left behind due to excessive water from Hurricane Dorian and a dozen inches of rain that fell during harvest. Overall, the island crop is much better than last year.
The late season Washington Basin crop will more than offset early season disappointments. Overall, there will be some valuable overage coming out of the basin to the highest bidder.
In the mid-west,Manitoba, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin have not had a good year.
“Manitoba will end up leaving in excess of 10,000 acres in the ground and will have to deal with storage issues through the winter, due to the extreme wet harvest conditions,” says Hochstein.
One positive note in Alberta is that seed growers have a very good crop in storage. Demand will be high with some growers already indicating that some varieties are sold out. Optimism prevails that American as well as eastern Canadian demand will continue to increase.