With low temperatures from last week expected to linger into this week, harvest is not looking good for potato farmers, experts say. About 20 percent of the fresh crop still is in the ground in the Red River Valley, said Ted Kreis, spokesman for the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association. “We could easily lose 100 percent of what’s still in the ground,” Kreis said.
The cold and wet weather, which came in last week and seems to be sticking around for a little bit, is especially bad for potatoes, he said. Once potatoes freeze, they’re unsalvageable, Kreis said. “They basically turn to mush in storage,” he said.
And wet fields make it “nearly impossible” to get equipment in to harvest. Some growers are done harvesting their potatoes, but others are only half done. “We’ll have to see, but I’m sure they won’t get all of the potatoes out,” Kreis said.