Maine Enjoys Successful Potato Harvest

Published online: Nov 18, 2019 Articles, Potato Harvesting
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Source: Bangor Daily News

Despite a delay in the end of potato harvest season due to rain and cold weather, Maine growers have deemed this year’s potato crop a success.

A recently released report from the USDA said this year’s average yield for Aroostook County potato crops is 320 hundredweight per acre, meaning 320 hundred-pound bags of potatoes were harvested on 1 acre. The yield for 2019 marks an increase from last year’s average of 310 hundredweight per acre.

Earlier this fall Flannery had said heavy rainfall and unusually warm temperatures of around 50 degrees prevented farmers from working in the fields during much of the first week of harvest, which began Sept. 23.

Typically potato growers aim to end harvest close to Oct. 10, but the wet conditions of the soil caused a more than weeklong delay in this year’s end to the season.

He noted that ideal weather conditions for harvest are temperatures no higher than the low 70s during the day and above 35 degrees at night. Though the summer proved to be dry and hot like in 2018, he said, growers credit rain at the end of August with helping to produce a healthy yield.

While 65 percent of Aroostook County’s potato crops are processed at plants such as Pineland Farms in Mars Hill, McCain Foods in Easton and Penobscot McCrum — now in the process of building a plant in Washburn — 20 percent is devoted to seed potatoes and 15 percent goes to the fresh food market.

“When you have a good quality crop, that creates greater market demand,” Flannery said.