Potato growers are hoping for some warmer temperatures and sunny skies in the coming days after two weeks of rain have brought planting to a halt across most of Prince Edward Island.
"We're experiencing a very delayed planting," said Rodney Dingwell, chair of the P.E.I. Potato Board.
"We're into our second week of wet weather and really there's nothing being done at the present time."
Dingwell also runs Modhaicdh Farms Ltd. in Marie, P.E.I., near Morell.
"Our planter is in the shop ready to go and we have our cereals in, which is a plus to us, but no potatoes in the ground."
Dingwell has workers standing by to help put the crop in, but the fields are just too wet.
"Our normal planting season ranges anywhere from the first of May to the 20th," he said.
"We're still not in a critical situation if we can get going late this week."
'You get frustrated'
Planting on P.E.I. usually starts in the east and moves west, because the eastern end of the Island has drier, sandier soil.
"It was quite dry early and it looked like it might be an early spring, it's now moved to what looks like a late spring," said Dingwell.
"You get frustrated and you want to be going but you can't," he said.
"We haven't found any way to control the weather yet."
Some interrupted, others delayed
"I think it's safe to say that it's wet," said Greg Donald, general manager of the P.E.I. Potato Board.
"In the last week or so, we've probably had as much rain as we would normally have in about a month."
The rain has had a different impact, depending on a potato farm's location on the Island.
"That has caused an interruption in planting for those that have already started and for those that haven't started planting, it has created delays," said Donald.
"In a normal year, most areas would have started by now."
Less than 5 per cent
Donald estimates less than five per cent of potato crop is planted so far — and in some cases, he said, that's a good thing.
"Many folks are probably glad that they haven't started yet because it's not always good, especially for potato seed to be in wet soggy ground for any length of time," he said.
"It can be more conducive to disease in the seed piece, so it's probably just as well many haven't started."
Donald admited that a late start in the spring puts pressure on growers at the end of the season because of the limited window for production.
"The more it gets reduced at the start of the year, it makes for a greater challenge to have a productive crop for the rest of the season," he said.
"It's getting to be a concern, the more it gets delayed."
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