REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI) – This year's potato harvest was expected to be plentiful according to early reports. But could the weather have affected the quality and quantity of this year's crop?
During last year's harvest, the drought was a big pain for local potato growers throughout the season, but it didn't majorly affect the harvest. We were told quality was up, but yields were low. Yields are the number of sacks of 100 pounds harvesters gather per acre.
Back in June, the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation predicted the potato crop would likely be much larger than what we saw last year.
But as we reported at the beginning of the month, the rainy weather slowed down the harvest, a contrasting problem from last year.
Despite the slower harvest season, it's shaping up to be great for the crop as quality and yields, or quantity, is high.
"The weather has been both a blessing and a curse for farmers all over eastern Idaho. Crop wise, the crops look really well. Good yields, good quality, so hopefully they get a good price for them," Rexburg potato grower Shaun Blaser said.
Idaho Farm Bureau's predictions are turning out to be true. More acreage was planted this year, and it is shaping up to be a record breaking year.
"So we have about 330,000 acres of potatoes planted in Idaho this year, according to the USDA estimate," Sean Ellis with the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation said. "And that's 35,000 more than last year... It would be the most acres Idaho has had since 2012."
North American Potato Marketing says Idaho is on track to produce 14.8 billion pounds of potatoes.
"If that happens, that will be our second biggest crop ever. A record crop was 15.2 billion in 2000. And Idaho still leads the nation of potato production. We produce about a third of the nation's total potato supply. I imagine we, our percentages would be even higher than that this year," Ellis said.
Consumers can expect lots of delicious potatoes on the grocery store shelves this year.
But because of the weather delay, growers need to act quick to get their quality crops out of the ground before it all freezes up.
"The general rule of thought is the 10th of October. As long as you're close, you'll get them out," Blaser said.