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Prince Edward Island potato growers at the mercy of the elements

This is the first fall in 20 years of owning his harvester that David Francis of Prince Edward Island in Canada has had to use the strongest speed to clean his potatoes. Rain and cold temperatures this fall have caused the ground to turn to clay at times, therefore making it more difficult to harvest and clean potatoes.

“I don’t think I’ve had a harvest as tough as this,” said David, who grew up farming and has operated his own farm for 40 years. Roughly 65 to 70 per cent of potatoes have been harvested across the Island, said general manager of the P.E.I. potato board Greg Donald. Donald said farmers like to finish their potato harvest by Halloween to beat the frost that often comes by November. “All the rain we needed back in July and August we’ve been getting this fall,” said Donald.

Donald said it may take until mid-November for some farmers to finish harvesting.

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