Smaller Potato Harvest on P.E.I. This Year

The reason: warm and dry weather

Published online: Oct 26, 2017 Articles Jordan Gill
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Source: CBC

Warm and drier-than-normal weather has meant a quicker harvest, but lower yield for many potato growers on Prince Edward Island.

Rodney Dingwell, the chair of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, says growers are getting their crop harvested as much as five days earlier than usual, which makes the growres happy.

“When you get more work done in a short period, there are benefits to that in reduced costs, labor and fuel,” says Dingwell.

He says the reason dry weather makes the harvest go quicker is simple: potatoes can be more easily dug out of the ground. 

“A little moisture’s good,” he says, “but having too much moisture and pulling trucks through mud is not very attractive.”

Dingwell also says the warmer weather has meant less frost, which has also helped the harvest.

What many growers aren’t happy about is some of the yield, which was lower in some areas because of the same weather that made the harvest so quick, warm and dry.

“A lot of us could’ve benefited from moisture early in the season when the plants could’ve made use of it,” says Dingwell.

Between June and September, Charlottetown, P.E.I., normally receives 14.7 inches of rain. This year that total was down to 12.7 inches, with three of the four months being below normal.