Potato Growers Report A Successful Harvest

Despite weather challenges during the planting and growing season, Wisconsin’s potato growers have reported a successful harvest with above-average yields and excellent quality produce. This is according to Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association Executive Director Tamas Houlihan. 

“The planting season faced delays of up to 10 days due to cold and wet weather in April,” he said. “However, the rest of the growing season experienced extreme heat and dryness, with May marking the fourth driest month on record in the state.”

By late July, 93 percent of Wisconsin was under moderate to severe drought conditions. Despite these adversities, extensive use of irrigation was key in ensuring a bountiful crop.

The late summer and early fall saw ideal harvest conditions, with warm days and cool nights facilitating excellent tuber bulking, leading to a high-quality yield. 

However, amidst the success, the market demand for potatoes faces challenges. The global market trends, especially with increased potato acreage in states like Idaho, have flooded the market, causing prices to drop significantly.

Houlihan says, “In terms of popular varieties, there’s a noticeable shift from red potatoes to yellow ones, driven by consumer demand. This shift has impacted the red potato market, prompting fewer growers to focus on reds and more on cultivating yellow varieties.”

Potatoes, even after harvest, remain living organisms, requiring specific storage conditions. To maintain freshness, you should store potatoes in cool, dark places at temperatures between 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Exposure to light can cause greening, while extreme cold can lead to sugar formation and discoloration.

“Storing potatoes in the refrigerator isn’t advisable,” explains Houlihan. “It’s about finding that ideal balance to ensure longevity without compromising quality.”