Voigt: Impact Of Extreme Heat on 2021 Crop Still Unknown

The heat of the summer, at least the most extreme temperatures, may be weeks behind us, but its impact on the Washington potato crop remains up in the air. Chris Voigt, Executive Director of the Washington State Potato Commission said while he expects the heat will negatively impact yields, other impacts remain unknown.

“It can impact the quality of the potato in two different ways.  You can get low gravities, or lower starch content to the potato and that affects the way that processors can make them into fries.  You can get Heat necrosis in the potatoes, so it’s kind of like a dead tissue within the potato and then when you put it into storage it can actually rot.”

Voigt noted at this point, it appears potato seed growers did not suffer as much from the extreme heat. He added the hot weather, the drought, and many of the problems growers faced in Washington were experienced in other potato growing states.

“Even though acres were actually up across the United States for potato production I think we’re going to see very average yields to maybe below average overall production, just because of some of the challenges in all of the potato producing states.”

Voigt noted one of the positive outcomes of this hot dry summer, growers did not face much in the way of disease pressure.

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