Cultivation/Production, North America, Weather/Climate

Wet fields jeopardize some of Aroostook’s multimillion-dollar potato crop

Sodden fields are keeping potatoes in the ground and many farmers are worried about rot, as Paula Brewer reports for The County.

Rain delayed planting season in Aroostook County, where about 90 percent of Maine’s potatoes are grown, and now it’s jeopardizing the multimillion-dollar crop. 

It’s been more than a decade since wet weather has plagued County farmers. Potatoes need healthy moisture to grow, but too much water can lead to rot. After a recent week of rain followed by deluges from a tropical storm, growers need drier days ahead to ensure a healthy crop, experts said this week. 

“It’s so wet we can’t harvest. We have not been able to harvest any potatoes for storage,” Erica Fitzpatrick Peabody of Fitzpatrick/Peabody Farm in Houlton said Wednesday.

Potatoes are Maine’s top food crop, followed by milk and blueberries. Record and near-record potato harvests the past two years brought more than $258 million into the state, and some growers actually ran out of storage space. With such a large haul, Maine farmers shared the wealth and in 2021 and 2022 shipped potatoes to Western states where weather damaged crops.

Source: The County. Read the full story here
Photo: The crew at Daniel Corey Farms in Monticello takes advantage of a warm night in October 2022 to continue loading harvested potatoes into storage. Photo courtesy of Daniel Corey Farms via The County

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