It was a good year for commercial vegetable producers—unless you were growing potatoes.
Cold and wet conditions in September and early October has been a big problem.
“There has been a fair bit of frost and lots of rain or snow,” says Connie Achtymichuk, provincial vegetable specialist with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. “It was either too wet to get into the field or there was too much frost. Some of them are still slugging away, but it is a challenge.”
Multiple nights of hard frosts damaged potatoes near the surface. Those damaged potatoes can cause healthy potatoes to rot in storage.
They can be separated, but there is the added expense and labor.
“A lot of potatoes will be left in the ground because the expense to dig them out and sort through them and then to try to store them just won’t be worth it,” says Achtymichuk. “If there is more than 10 percent frost damage in the field, we recommend that they not spend the money to get those potatoes out.”
The potatoes will naturally decompose in the soil by the time the next crop is planted in three or four years.
Approximately 5,000 acres of commercial potatoes are grown in Saskatchewan, including 3,000 acres on irrigated land in the Outlook region.