Drought thwarts New Brunswick potato harvest revenues

With the harvest season underway, the impact of this summer's dry conditions are coming to light in New Brunswick. Potato farmers say their yields are down significantly for fall 2020 due to a lack of rainfall during the growing season.

The first of a series of blows to the potato industry came earlier in the year – caused by COVID-19 and restaurant shutdowns; the second came from Mother Nature with arid weather during the summer months.

Potatoes New Brunswick executive director, Matt Hemphill, told atlantic.ctvnews.ca: "Unfortunately, most producers saw about one-tenth of the precipitation they needed to have a successful growing season. What that translates to is about a 25-50 per cent yield reduction throughout the province – that quickly adds up to $45M-$50M in revenue loss."

Somewhat ironically, the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick says the weather the province is currently experiencing is perfect for harvesting.

"The harvest is going well, but the actual volume of potatoes per acre is reduced; because without water, they simply didn't grow," says Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick president, Lisa Ashworth.

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