Wet weather causing problems for potato farmers

Potato growers on P.E.I. are concerned that some of their crops might be lost because of the wet weather.
Pink rot, a fungal infection that grows in wet conditions, can spread through a crop of potatoes in storage. (

Potato growers on P.E.I. are concerned that some of their crops might be lost because of the wet weather.   

Willem van Nieuwenhuyzen's potato field at Vanco Farms is completely saturated with water after recent rains, a much different scene than what Island potato farmers experienced for much of the summer.

Nearly three months ago, van Nieuwenhuyzen was praying for rain to save his dried-out potato crop but he's learned, there can be too much of a good thing. 

"We can't harvest right now so if it stays like this, well then we're going to fall behind with our harvest," he said. 

Record rainfall totals in the month of September drenched most of the Island's potato crops, making it impossible for harvesters to even get out on the field. 

At Gerrit Visser and Sons farm, Randy Visser said they're about 10 per cent through their harvest, but some soggy fields are a total loss. 

"It seems like over the past number of years, the weather has been more extreme so we get a really dry summer and a really wet fall, and vice versa. It seems like we don't have the same consistency as we may be used to," Visser said. 

"If we left these for a day or two, we would start to see some real problems." 

Problems like 'pink rot' could ruin an entire crop in storage, said Visser. 

"If you have a few rotting potatoes in there, then they'll leak on to the other ones and then it'll start the whole pile start to break down," he said. 

Visser uses a ventilation system to dry the potates before putting them into storage, but he said this year he's being extra careful with what he puts into storage. 

Visser said he has several low-lying fields that he won't even bother to harvest. 

"Potatoes that have been sitting under water for any amount of time, are rotting on the field," he said.