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Idaho potato growers brace for ‘inferior crop’

Randy Hardy, of Oakley, is not alone among Idaho farmers in his assessment that the potato crop he’ll soon harvest will be the worst of his career.

John O’Connell reports for Idaho State Journal that statewide, spud farmers conducting test digs or early harvest are uprooting plants supporting no tubers. Where there are spuds, there are fewer than normal, and most of the tubers are undersized and misshapen.

“I’ve never had this happen before, and I’ve got an agronomist who works with me on potatoes and he’s been doing it for over 20 years and he said he’s never seen a worse crop than this,” said Hardy, who raises spuds for the fresh market and serves as chairman of the board of Sun Valley Potatoes. “… I would really be surprised if we don’t get into a ration situation where there simply aren’t enough potatoes to go around.”

It’s been an exceptionally hot, dry and smoky growing season throughout the Gem State, and farmers say their potatoes, grain and alfalfa have suffered because of the tough combination of conditions.

Jim Tiede of American Falls said farmers who have been digging in his area have reported yields of 20 percent below normal, oddly shaped spuds and problems with specific gravity. “It’s going to be a short crop,” Tiede said. “Fryers have been very active out looking to purchase more.”

Source: Idaho State Journal. Read the full story here
Photo: Jim Tiede of American Falls holds up Ranger Russetts from one of his fields on Aug 24 | Courtesy Debra Tiede, published by Idaho State Journal

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