Dry weather withers some potato plants

The lack of rain on P.E.I. is withering some potato plants, especially Kings County.

Dry weather is withering some potato plants in eastern and central P.E.I.

Since May 1 only 111 mm of rain has fallen at the Charlottetown Airport. On average during that period 219 mm would fall.

Some farmers in the east said the lack of rain is turning their soil into dust. On the surface, the soil is dry all across the Island, but in Kings and Queens county the dirt around the root is almost as dry as it is on top.

Willem Van Nieuwenhuyzen owns Vanco Farms in Mount Albion and he's concerned about his potato crop.

"They're obviously up, and they're growing, but they're starting to suffer a bit. And we're kind of hoping for some rain in the near future, which doesn't look like we're going to get this week," he said.

Boyd Rose, director of the P.E.I. Potato Board, said it's one of driest seasons in over a decade.

"Our plants ... are smaller than they would normally be for stuff that was planted around the first of June," he said.

Farmers said the next few weeks will be critical for their crops.

The P.E.I. Potato Board said only about five per cent of farmland on the Island has access to irrigation, so most farmers remain at the mercy of the rain.