North America

Drought results in smaller Red River Valley potato crop, but rains help with harvest

As Red River Valley dryland potato farmers expected, the 2021 drought reduced their crop’s yields. The dry conditions lowered the Red River Valley dryland potato crop yields, which mostly are fresh and seed varieties, from 20% to 25%, estimated Ted Kreis, Northern Plains Potato Growers Association marketing director.

Ann Bailey reports in this news story for AgWeek that August and September rains didn’t fall in time to give much of a boost to Red River Valley potato yields, but they did soften the ground for harvest.

“I’d say it’s the best digging we’ve had in quite a few years,” said Kelly Grotte, who grows red and yellow potatoes for the fresh market on his farm near Thompson, North Dakota. Yields vary greatly, from saline spots in the field that have no potatoes under them, to other fields where the crop produced a record amount, Grotte said on Tuesday, Sept. 21.

“The average dryland yield is three-fourths of a normal year on fresh reds. Typically, red potatoes grown on dryland yield about 225 hundredweight to the acre,” he said.

While the past summer’s drought reduced seed potato yields from 15% to 20%, the quality of the crop is excellent, said Justin Dagen across the Red River in Minnesota, near Karlstad.

Source: AgWeek. Read the full story here
Photo: Andrew Grotte and Daniel Loiland harvested red potatoes in a field south of Grand Forks, North Dakota, on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. Courtesy Ann Bailey / Agweek

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