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North Carolina sweet potato growers hope for dry harvest

As Hurricane Irma made its way up the Florida peninsula, many growers in the south-east were waiting to see what damage their crops might sustain from the effects of the system. Over the next few days, the remnants of the hurricane are expected to dump heavy rains across the south-eastern United States. 

One sweet potato grower in North Carolina said it is too early to predict how they would be affected. Robert Boyette, of Boyette Brothers Produce and Rock Ridge Farms Partnership, said that so far, product quality is looking high for the season as long as the rain holds off. 

"The growing season for most areas has been very favorable. This should result in quality being very good as long as the weather conditions during harvesting are good." As to any effects expected from Hurricane Irma, Boyette said, "Depending upon how much rain it brings will determine if there is any damage. Some areas have already had excess rain."

Yield expected to be down as prices remain flat
Although the quality of the produce is looking positive, Boyette said that early indications were for a slightly lower yield this season while prices remain flat. However this won't be known to any certainty until harvest time. "Prices are flat, depending on the size, pack, etc. As growers, we really need prices to increase but that is probably not to be expected until after harvest. At that time we will know what the supply is."

Demand firming for sweet potato varieties
Covington are the main sweet potato variety grown at this time of year in North Carolina, and Boyette expressed a positive outlook for the crop as it transitions into a mainline vegetable and other varieties are being sought by consumers.

"Covington is predominately the main variety but there are some 198 and Beauregard planted as well," he said. "The demand for sweet potatoes is constantly increasing. Sweet potatoes are being marketed and sold in many different ways and consumers are learning the health benefits as well and finding new ways to prepare. It is no longer just a side you have during the holiday season."

For more information: 
Robert Boyette
Boyette Brothers Produce
Tel: +1 (252) 206 0737

Publication date: 9/14/2017
Author: Dennis M. Rettke
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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