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How the cold weather is affecting the potato harvest

Year-round, potato growers work hard to ensure fresh, high quality, potatoes for their consumers.

Kasia Duellman is a Seed Potato Specialist of the University of Idaho Extension. She tells us how different weather complications during harvesting can interfere with the final result.

“It seems every year it brings different challenges, sometimes there’s excess moister, some times there’s cold temperatures, sometimes there are hot temperatures, whether you have any of those factors can influence your harvest,” Duellman said.

With cold temperatures coming to our area, potato grower fear the risk of freeze injuries

“Frost injury is where you actually get a tuber that gets frost damage from freezing, but tubers that get too cold can also experience some problems that can be challenging for a grower,” Duellman said.

And cold temperature injuries.

“One of the challenges of harvesting tubers, when they’re too cold, is the increased bouncing can cause injury but there’s another problem too and that’s they can get an accumulation of sugar. This accumulation of sugars can cause increased browning in your product,” Duellman said.

Just because the air temperature is cold, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the potatoes down in the soil are.

“Soil can be somewhat insulative, if it’s dry it cools faster, if it’s wetter soil, it cools more slowly,” Duellman said.

There are many other factors that can impact a growers field, the altitude, location and harvesting schedule. However, all growers can use general questions to predict any negative impact on their crop.

“How cold it got, how wet or dry is the soil and how long was the temperature below thirty degrees’,” Duellman said.

KIFI 2019

Article Topic Follows: Agriculture

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