According to a report by Capital Press, the mostly good quality and yield in this year’s slightly larger Idaho potato crop indicate that ample supplies of irrigation water and good early-season field conditions gave the tubers what they needed to survive the summer’s smoke and some unusually high heat. Harvest conditions that so far lack the inclement weather seen a year ago also help growers.
“This year’s harvest will provide ideal conditions for a strong year for Idaho potato farmers,” Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir said Sept. 27. Total potato acres of 311,316 forecast this year represents a 1.15 percent gain from 307,766 a year ago, he said, citing United Potato Growers of Idaho figures.
Wildfire smoke may have slowed some Idaho potatoes’ traditional summer growth surge. “Much of the smoke that plagued us during the summer months has cleared out, but the smoke from these fires, coming out of California and Canada, did appear to have some impact on the bulking up of potatoes,” Muir said. The smoke appears to have had more impact on Russet Burbank potatoes than Norkotahs, he said.
Muir said average yield per acre for the entire Idaho potato crop likely will fall within the five-year average. Whether it’s on the higher or lower end is yet to be determined. Prices generally should be strong this year.