Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Potato planting delayed on Prince Edward Island by 'backward' spring

Wet weather has farmers behind by one week

CBC News Posted: May 28, 2013 10:46 PM AT Last Updated: May 28, 2013 10:48 PM AT

The cold, wet weather this spring has been putting a damper on the planting of the province's potato crop.

P.E.I. Potato Board officials say planting is about a week behind schedule.

“I’m going to call it a backward spring so far,” said Greg Donald, general manager of the board. “The first full week in May we had very dry conditions and most producers were looking forward to some rain.”

For those producers, it may now be a case of be careful what you wish for. The heavy rain that followed the dry stretch has put farmers behind by a week.

Farmer Gary Linkletter said the weather has been unpredictable.

“Last evening we were out here planting with nothing on the radar, and then all of a sudden it starts showering,” he said.

Linkletter said a delay of even one week can mean smaller spuds in the fall.

“We don’t anticipate a big loss,” he said. But he added that every day of sunlight helps the crop.

Monaghan Farms is also behind. It grows for the potato chip market.

“We really need them mature to get that white colour in the chip come season end,” said Derrick Curley of Monaghan Farms. “For the most part, we’re not too concerned right now.”

Greg Donald says about half of the province’s crop has been planted so far this year.