As potato harvest starts to wrap up across the Northwest, how does the 2019 crop look?
Chris Voigt Executive Director of the Washington state Potato Commission says with roughly 20% of the crop remaining in the ground across central Washington, and 25% still in ground in western Washington, the yields are at or just below average. However, he was quick to note 2019 is one of the best quality crops he’s seen in years.
“Again, it was perfect growing conditions. You know, what can really affect quality is swings in temperature it will go from super-hot scorching days over 100 degrees, down low and then throw in a lot of moisture. That can really mess with the quality of the crop. But we had really consistent temperatures and growing conditions through the year. So the crop is outstanding.”
Voigt noted that the area was spared extremely cold weather and snow a few weeks ago, which can’t be said for producers in Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas. He said weather issues have pushed up demand for fresh potatoes, creating opportunities for local growers.
However, Voigt said Northwest growers could be hurt by that artic weather, next spring. He said there are concerned about seed potatoes going into 2020.
“Preliminary reports are most of the crop got out of the ground in Montana, before the cold weather set in. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case in Idaho. So, see supply was already was kind of on the verge of being pretty tight and now with this difficulty in harvesting in other states, it could tighten up seed supply. So, we’re encouraging all of our growers to rush out there and to really secure their seed supply.”
Voigt added that winter-like weather in addition to areas of flooding back east have pushed fresh market prices up $2 cwt.
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