Given that most potato areas will not see harvest reach full capacity until the third week of September, the Canadian growers hope that any potential early frosts hold off and allow the crop to finish up.
The latest United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) report shows that lately, weather patterns have continued to influence the outlook for the Canadian potato crop. Eastern Canada (particularly PEI) has received record amounts of rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
The province of Manitoba has also received some rainfall over the past two weeks and while high temperatures have broken in Alberta, the area remains dry. The heat has come down this week in Quebec as well.
Prince Edward Island (PEI) – Record-setting Daily Accumulations of Rain
In line with UPGC’s latest report, September 2 brought the remnants of Hurricane Ida to Prince Edward Island supplying record-setting daily accumulations of rain with it. Potato fields received anywhere from 80mm to 150mm during a 24-hour period. Just one day previous, the crop was beginning to look dry in some areas that had not received significant amounts of rainfall during August, the report notes.
New Brunswick (the potato belt) Received a Few Inches of Water
Even though the potato belt was not the recipient of large amounts of water from the recent hurricane, it did receive an inch previous and 1.5 inches the previous week before that. “This should carry much of the crop into maturity as vines are beginning to lay down and lighten in color,” wrote the UPGC’s experts in their report. Early harvest on chipstock has been very promising with reported yields well above average.
Quebec – Overall Yields Will be Higher than a Year Ago
The excessive summer heat broke on Monday after the province received an inch of rain on Sunday. Some areas received only in the range of 7-8mm. The Russet crop has been stressed with plants falling in the heat, so the reprieve may be too late for those fields. The early harvest was very good with high yields and good quality. Overall yields will be higher than a year ago, although growers are looking at a smaller size profile.
In Ontario, Producers Anticipate Harvesting a Good Crop
The season is rolling along in Ontario as producers anticipate harvesting a good crop. Some irrigation systems were shut off earlier this year with natural rainfall being more abundant throughout the season. “Quality looks very good, on most varieties,” the experts said. Growers are looking forward to the cooler temperatures which will allow safe storage for that part of the harvest. Early table harvest has been a good one, with good quality and yields reported. As in other provinces, there is pressure to move that out of field crop before other areas enter the marketing window.
Manitoba – Current Yield Predictions are for 2/3 of Normal
Fresh potato growing areas of the province contain many non-irrigated acreages and have been dry throughout the season. The Winkler area, in the last 2.5 weeks has received four inches of rain but unfortunately, it was too late for much of the table crop and current yield predictions are for 2/3 of normal. Table potatoes in the Red River Valley, south of the border, also had similar rain patterns recently which will help put some weight on the later crops after a very dry season.
Processing potatoes, particularly Russets have struggled to keep up with the hot dry season. Some early out of field harvest has been done, mostly on Rangers. Growers would prefer to wait a little longer to see if they can achieve a better yield per acre in the out of field deliveries.
Saskatchewan: The Crop Generally Looks Good
Although it has been a hot dry season, the crop generally looks good. Growers feel some of the success is due to a good irrigation source with access to lots of water for the crop throughout the season. A lot of the seed crop has been top killed, and harvest is ready to get underway.
Alberta: All Growers are Anxious for Their Crop
Alberta’s potato crop has suffered from heat issues since late June, early July. From a distance, the fields look great with tall green vines, however, consistent temperatures of 103 degrees F before row closure, dropped the first set, greatly affecting yields. All growers are anxious for their crop to finish up bulking before the main harvest begins on September 20th.
British Columbia: A Good Crop
The growing season has been hot, particularly in July. The net effect seems to be a good crop, but one which does not have a lot of large size potatoes in it. Recent variety trial field days show many plants with a higher set, but a smaller size profile.
About three-quarters of the fields are topped, and temperatures are cooling down from 20 degrees in the daytime to nine degrees at nighttime, making for good harvesting and storage temperatures. Many growers require four weeks for skin set on red and yellow varieties, so the main harvest should be rolling by September 20th.