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Dry weather has Maine potato growers hoping for rain

Dirt is kicked up on a road that runs through potato fields near the Fort Kent-Frenchville town line.August is a critical month for the growth of potatoes. With harvest occurring in September, at this time the potato fields already have blossomed and the tubers start to grow from petite new potatoes into full sized ones — if there’s enough rain, that is. With abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions affecting the state over the last month, especially in northern Maine, the Maine Potato Board said the size of this year’s yield will likely be down from previous years. “It’s just been really dry,” Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board, said. “When you have a dry year it doesn’t necessarily affect quality but it affects the yield.” Last year’s drought affected growing conditions in most parts of the state through late fall, however it spared northern Maine from the worst of the drought conditions. The 2016 potato harvest was close to a record breaking yield, producing about 310 pounds per acre statewide. Potato growers with irrigation systems have been utilizing that infrastructure over the last four to six weeks Flannery said, not just in northern Maine but across central and southern Maine as well. Bangor Daily News report

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