Potato Growers Get Better Idea About Crop Size

The United Potato Growers of Idaho is keeping a close eye on this year’s spud crop, including the damaged acres.

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According to Local News 8 of Eastern Idaho and Western Wyoming, the numbers are coming in and the severe weather wiped out at least 10,000 acres of potatoes.

While United knows how many acres of potatoes are in the ground, there are still a lot of unknowns with how the damaged crops will help or hurt the growers. About the only thing they can do right now is stay optimistic, CEO Jerry Wright says, as they’re closely watching the damaged crops. The good news is they’re seeing the plants recover.

Thousands of acres were hit by four severe hail storms all across eastern Idaho over the past couple of weeks.

“We continue to experience the wrath of Mother Nature right now. And we are just hopeful we can get a good crop out of this season,” says Wright.

United says they hope the crops won’t be a total loss and will try to harvest the damaged crops and sell them to dehydrating businesses.

The official potato count for this growing season is 315,000 acres across the state. That’s up 3.9% over last year.

Demand is down nationwide on potatoes and with more in supply, profits could be hurt. Last year Idaho growers shipped one million more potato bags and ended up losing $30 million.

But more good news, United says the majority of the new acres are contracted by dehydrating companies and won’t cause too big of a dent on potato prices.

“A lot will depend on how this crop turns out. We’ve had the wettest spring on record. We’ve had record hail unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Both of those are going to affect the yield of the crop,” says Wright.

The United Potato Growers of Idaho said this is the most accurate count ever done in the state.