Sizing looks to be an issue in new crop potatoes from Idaho this season.
Ryan Wahlen of Pleasant Valley Potato in Aberdeen, ID says it’s been in new crop now for just under three weeks. “We started about a week later than normal,” he told Astrid Van Den Broek of FreshPlaza. “The heat we experienced this summer just delayed things. We were hoping to get a little bit more size out of the potatoes so we waited a week. But even with that, the size and the yields weren’t there.”
Of course, the yields are seeing the effects of summer 2021 which saw significant heat waves, as well as smoke from wildfires. “All the heat and the smoke made it difficult for the plants to get any kind of normal growth,” said Wahlen. And while accessing water wasn’t as much of an issue as it was in states such as California, the heat affected watering plans.
“Because it was so hot so early, we couldn’t keep the soil moisture levels where we needed them to be. That is probably one of the biggest factors in why the yields were off,” he said.
Also making things challenging this harvest season are issues around labor and truck shortages.