Potatoes and Heat Impact Pt 2

Potatoes and Heat Impact Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I’m Bob Larson. The heat has been a big challenge for agriculture this summer, but it comes on the heels of a year filled with challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matthew Blua, with the Washington State Potato Commission, says the timing of our extreme heat will be key for potatoes …

BLUA … “Fortunately, we seem to have had pretty good row closure before we got the big heat. And, what I mean by that, is when one row of potatoes and the other row of potatoes grow over their rows, such that, they don’t leave any ground that’s exposed to the sun. And that heats up the ground a lot more.”

Blua says this heat on the heels of the pandemic has been kind of a double whammy …

BLUA … “You know, the vast majority of Washington potatoes leave the state after processing, many going overseas. And, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down restaurants worldwide and restaurants is where we sell most of our products in the form of French fries.”

But overall, Blua says in spite of all the challenges this past year, it hasn’t been all bad …

BLUA … “Although the industry was hurt by the pandemic, it was not as impactful as we initially feared it would be. And, I should point out, that the Washington Potato Growers donated over a million pounds of potatoes to Washington citizens who needed food.”

Blua says we’ll likely have to wait until harvest to know the extent of the heat damage, but things aren’t looking too bad at this point.

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