Wisconsin Growers Hoping for Better Harvest This Year

Published online: Sep 23, 2019 Articles
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Source: WSAU

Wisconsin potato growers are hoping for a better result in 2019 than in 2018 when an early frost left much of their harvest unuseable.

“There were still a lot of potatoes in the ground in October when that frost hit last year. So, yes, we had a lot of growers hurt financially with rotten potatoes and potatoes that just couldn’t be harvested," Tamas Houlihan with the state's Potato and Vegetable Grower's Association, speaking with WXPR Radio in Rhinelander. "This year truly is a recovery year for a lot of our growers,” he added.

He says cool, not cold or frozen, soil is best for the potatoes this time of year because it allows them to grow a thicker skin. Farmers then need dry conditions to be able to dig them up.

“Particularly in Antigo, with the heavy silt loam soil, when it rains, especially if you get an inch or more, it sits in the field for a while, and it will shut a harvest operation down for a couple of days,” he said.

It may not be the first or even the second or third export you think of when you think of Wisconsin's contributions to agriculture nationally, but don't discount the Badger state's place in the potato growing world. Wisconsin grows the third-most potatoes in the USA, behind only Idaho and Washington.