Idaho Growers Projecting Slightly Lower Yields

Published online: Aug 28, 2017 Articles
Viewed 765 time(s)

Potato harvest is right around the corner, and it has been an intense season in eastern Idaho. The growing season has seen everything from snow and flooding to blistering sun and heat. How has the weather affected the crops this year? Meteorologist Paul Beam spoke with growers in the Shelley, Idaho, area to see the effects of the ever-changing weather.

Four months ago, snow was still an issue and fields were wet and flooded. The weather is always a key factor in agriculture production, and this winter took its toll.

“We’ve seen everything this year... A lot of moisture through the winter, and a cold wet spring, and then it was like a switch was flipped and it went really hot,” says grower Bryan Searle with Double S Farms.

The rain in April stopped most growers from planting until about a week later than most would have liked to.

Double S growers say that each day they were pushed back is the equivalent of 500 to 600 pounds of potatoes not being harvested.

Luckily enough, pests were less of a problem this year than in years past. Growers saw a big decline on vole numbers, which were an issue last year. While nematodes were in the area this year, they were in manageable numbers and shouldn’t affect yields.

“It’s too early to say if the yields will be down, but at this point we suspect it will be slightly off,” says Jared Wattenbarger, a partner with Wattenbarger Farms

And while output might be a problem in many fields, quality is not a problem. A lot of potatoes around the region are high in quality, likely to be classified to those No. 1 and No. 2.

“A No. 1 is what a consumer wants on the plate at a restaurant and the store; it’s a nice smooth potato,” says Searle. “A No. 2 could have a knot that was cut off or a growth crack.”

There is still about one month to go before harvest, so these projections can change before the potatoes come out of the ground. Most growers say they are looking to begin harvest in late September.


Soruce: KPVI-TV