The general manager of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board is anticipating this year’s potato harvest to ramp up next week. Greg Donald said the harvest has barely started with a limited supply to fresh pack, chip plant and process markets so far, but that’ s about to change. Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) family farms, the board notes, produce as much as 25 per cent of the Canadian potato crop. The Island’s potato industry creates an economic impact of an estimated $1.065 billion, the board notes, and employs, directly or indirectly, 12 per cent of the Island’s workforce. The potato crop in most areas of the province were impacted by dry conditions throughout July, and those conditions persisted in August, especially in western P.E.I., he said. As a result, he is expecting an average crop in eastern P.E.I. and a below average production in western P.E.I. and on some central P.E.I. farms. Just how much of an impact the weather has had won’t be known until the harvest is well underway.
Donald said production is expected to be down pretty well right across North Amerca. He said the hot summer impacted yields in places like Idaho, which grows almost as many acres of potatoes as all of Canada. Acreage was also cut in that market, he noted.
With the North American supply expected to be down in comparison to 2016 levels, Donald said the impact on the marketplace is already becoming clear. “Demand, early out of the gate here, is good, and prices are very similar to where they were at the same time last year, he reported.
Source: Journal Pioneer