Potato harvest down, but P.E.I. still led the country, StatsCan numbers show

Potato production was down almost three per cent across the country this year, according to figures released by Statistics Canada.

Canada's overall potato production down three per cent, including eight per cent on P.E.I.

A late spring, dry summer and cold, wet fall made growing and harvesting conditions difficult for potato farmers. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Potato production was down almost three per cent across the country this year, according to figures released by Statistics Canada.

Because of difficult growing and harvesting conditions, about 6,500 hectares (16,000 acres) of potatoes were left unharvested and are still in the ground.

Almost eight per cent of P.E.I.'s seeded area went unharvested — or about 2,800 hectares (7,000 acres). Jason Hayden, chair of the P.E.I. Potato Board, says that will present a challenge for next year.

"Each farm's going to have to make their own decisions on how they deal with those fields, how they till them, what crops they can put in them," he said.

"Even the fields that were harvested, there's a lot of compaction issues farmers have to deal with. A lot of farmers didn't get their cover crops on quite the way they would have liked to so there are issues that farmers will have to deal with."

Even with the drop in production, P.E.I. was still the largest grower in the country with 21.8 per cent of the overall crop.

Alberta had 21.5 per cent and farmers were able to harvest 97 per cent of their seeded area, increasing production almost nine per cent. 

Manitoba came in with 19.6 per cent even with a loss of more than eight per cent of its crop.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Laura Chapin

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