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Published November 14, 2009, 09:49 PM

Bad Luck For Spuds

Thousands of acres of potatoes will be left in the field due to poor weather.

By: Joel Porter, WDAZ

Thousands of acres of potatoes in the valley will be left in the ground.

The potato harvest started in mid-September.

Since then, local farmers have been plagued by bad weather.

Statewide, about 95 percent of the potato crop has been harvested.

But the potatoes that are left are showing signs of frost damage; some farmers say its not worth the trouble to harvest them.

Farmers in the area have been enjoying 50 degree days for nearly a week straight. The unseasonably warm weather draws parallels from one year ago.

Steve Tweten/ Nokota Packers Pres.: Last year was almost a perfect storm type thing, where the growing season was great, the tonage was fantastic and the harvest went wonderful.

Farmers spent the day harvesting corn and soybeans, but potato farmers in the area are all but finished, and some of the crop remains untouched.

Steve Tweten/ Nokota Packers Pres.: Probably be somewhere around three, maybe up to 4000 acres of potatoes which would include all the three major varieties.

Tweten says he still has one farmer from the Buxton area who will try to harvest about 70 remaining acres. After a wet October, many others have opted to leave the remaining crop in the field.

Steve Tweten/ Nokota Packers Pres.: A lot of that has been dug that they could get, there's still quite a bit of it, the fields are still too wet, too soggy to go in and dig it up so again they've probably gotten all they're going to get at this time.

So far, about 95 percent of the potato crop has been harvested in the state. Tweten says even if farmers manage to dig the rest, they'll likely lose much of it to frost.

Steve Tweten/ Nokota Packers Pres.: The crop that's left out there is showing some frost damage, how bad will really express itself in a few weeks after they've been in storage for a while.

Tweten says in terms of tonage, this year's harvest is down about 17 percent from last year.

Much of that is also due to the late planting and the fact that many farmers lost acreage to overland flooding.

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