In a remarkable display of agricultural resilience, Alberta’s potato farmers have achieved record-breaking yields in 2023, surpassing even Prince Edward Island, a region traditionally known for its potato production.
As the CBC’s Brendan Coulter reports in a recent news story, despite facing challenging drought conditions, Alberta produced a staggering 32,063,000 hundredweight (CWT) of potatoes, outdoing P.E.I.’s 25,813,000 CWT, as reported by StatsCanada.
This achievement marks the second time this century that Alberta has led Canada in potato production. Terence Hochstein, executive director of the Potato Growers of Alberta, attributes this success to increased planting across western North America, rather than consistently favorable growing conditions. Alberta saw an increase in potato planting to 80,100 acres this year, up from 73,080 acres the previous year.
The province’s agricultural areas have been grappling with moisture deficits for the past three years. However, the use of irrigation and access to reservoirs have helped mitigate the drought’s impact on potato crops.
Farmers like Alison Davie, owner of North Paddock Farms in Taber, Alberta, have adapted to the conditions, harvesting early in the morning to avoid heat-related storage issues.
“You just have to roll with it, and whatever Mother Nature deals us, you just have to make the best of it,” she says.
The Potato Growers of Alberta estimate that potato production contributes over $2 billion annually to Alberta’s economy. With continued investment and growth, including a $600 million expansion by McCain Foods in Coaldale, Alberta’s potato industry shows promising signs of further expansion and prosperity.
Source: CBC. Read the original story here
Photo: Alison Davie, who owns North Paddock Farms in Taber, Alta. said her potato harvest went “pretty well,” despite hot temperatures at her farm. Photo credit Alison Davie via CBC News