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Heat forecast leaves Washington farmers worried about crop damage

East of the Cascades, growers are scrambling to get ready for a heat wave that could bring a peak temperature Tuesday of 113 degrees in Yakima and hang around until at least Friday, when a high of 107 is forecast. A prolonged spell of over 100 degrees also could damage some crops, reports Hal Bernton for The Seattle Times.

The heat wave is forecast to absorb a broad swath of irrigated farm country in Eastern Washington. In Othello, a prime potato-growing region, high temperatures are forecast by the National Weather Service to reach 112 on Tuesday.

Researchers have found that potato growth shuts down above 95 degrees. So, a week of 100-plus degrees in early summer could slow growth and stress plants, said Dale Lathim, executive director of the Potato Growers of Washington. The heat can also cause some tubers to end up with hollow heart or another condition that turns their ends from starch to sugar.

“It is safe to say there will be some impact. Right now, I’m just very concerned but not alarmed,” Lathim said.

Source: The Seattle Times. Full story here
Photo: Washington State Potato Commission

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