Potato farmers optimistic about prices
Island potato farmers say they're optimistic about prices as they harvest their crops.
“The harvest is going really well, the weather of last week was a great boost to everybody in P.E.I.,” said Gary Linkletter, chair of the P.E.I. Potato Board.
The fields are dusty and dry, letting machines work quickly in the fields saving farmers money and time.
More than 36,000 hectares of potatoes were planted this year.
Linkletter runs a potato business with several partners on about 647 hectares.
He said across the Island the amount being harvesting is down slightly, but the crop is good quality.
“It's slightly below average I would say, but close, not a bad crop. Considering everything, it's really good,” Linkletter said.
Farmers had worried the dry summer would hurt the potatoes, but late rains seemed to have helped the crop bounce back.
The potato board said having fewer table potatoes around this year will help them fetch a better price at market.
Last year P.E.I. farmers received $1.29 for a 10-pound bag. The potato board said farmers need $1.50 to break even.
Linkletter said this year the supply is more in line with demand.
“North American production is looking to be down about five per cent, so we're looking for a lot better prices this year. It should be on the positive side,” said Linkletter.
He said the 2013 crop is going into storage and prices will fluctuate a bit over the coming months.
The harvest is expected to be completed in the next couple of weeks.