P.E.I. potato planting in full swing

Tractors chug over wide expanses of tilled, red soil — it's an annual picture postcard scene on P.E.I. — planting thousands of hectares of potatoes.

About 10% of the crop is already in the ground

Potato farmers were eagerly awaiting sunny weather like this to plant potatoes in Belle River, P.E.I. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Tractors chug over wide expanses of tilled, red soil — it's an annual picture postcard scene on P.E.I. — planting thousands of hectares of potatoes. 

The Visser farm in Orwell Cove will plant about 400 hectares, or 1,000 acres, in the next couple of weeks. 

"It's still a little bit wet in the ground, hopefully with the wind and sun it will dry out," said Ben Visser of Gerrit Visser and Sons. The company is located in eastern P.E.I., where planting typically begins first. 

The typical spring weather is a welcome change after last year when a record snowfall remained melting in the fields, delaying planting for weeks. 

"Conditions are pretty good actually, it's a little bit windy today, but as far as the soil and that, it's a good day for planting," said Randy Visser. 

Besides planting, the Vissers are also still shipping out last year's crop — making staffing a challenge. 

"Just have to have the right people in the right places. And sometimes it's a little bit tough when you're spread sort of thin," Randy Visser said.

'Conditions are pretty good' for planting says Randy Visser of Gerrit Visser and Sons in Orwell Cove, P.E.I.

The cool evenings P.E.I. has been experiencing are good for ventilation of storage bins, he adds, but for planting farmers would like to see a little more heat.

About 10 percent of this year's crop is already in the ground, according to the P.E.I. Potato Board.

Approximately 89,500 acres of potatoes were planted in 2015, according to P.E.I.'s Agriculture department. Potatoes represent the Island's single largest agricultural commodity in terms of farm cash receipts, ranging from $203 to $257 million a year over the last five years.

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With files from Laura Meader