US sweet potato growers see slight harvest delay but no harm to crop from Hurricane Delta

Hurricane Delta made landfall in Louisiana this past weekend as a Post-Tropical Cyclone. Heavy winds and rainfall were brought to the southeastern states of the US due to the storm. Currently, the sweet potato harvest is underway in the affected states, but outside of a few harvesting delays due to the rain, the crop has remained unharmed.

Source: Weather Prediction Center.

Rainfall didn't damage the crop
Sylvia Clark of the Mississippi Sweet Potato Commission had thought that the hurricane could possibly cause damage to the crop prior to its making landfall on Friday October 9th. On Monday, October 12th, after the storm had passed over Mississippi, it fortunately turned out that the storm’s damage was minimal. “Our area got very little damage and not too much rain. Most areas fell in the 1-1 1/2-inch range with regard to rainfall. This week’s weather report predicts sunshine for most of the week with cooler weather near the weekend; highs in the mid 60s and lows in the mid 40s, which should be good for the sweet potato harvest. The digging should resume toward the end of this week, so we were very lucky! The turnout for the sweet potato crop remains average with occasional above average yields,” Clark shares.

Trey Boyette of SMP Southeast Marketing Inc. in Mississippi says: “We got about 1.5-2.5 inches of rain from the hurricane, which we didn’t need but I don’t think it’s going to hurt the crop much. We’re currently in the harvest stage and so far, we have harvested about 50-60% of the crop, with an average yield. I don’t think there should be any substantial damage on the crop for the rain this weekend, it should turn out okay.”

North Carolina sees slight harvest delay too
In North Carolina, there has also been additional rainfall from the hurricane, but here, too, the sweet potato crop has remained safe. Bryant Hill of Ham Farms shares: “We’re not seeing any real issues or effects on the crop from the rain, the only effect we’re seeing from the rain is some delays and slow-downs on the harvest but there’s no actual damage to the crop. The rain just prevents us from going out to the field to harvest. Overall, though, it’s been so far so good with this season, we’re just hoping for some dryer days.”

Overall yields for this year’s domestic sweet potato season look to be average, and the growers are hoping for a strong market this season.

For more information:
Sylvia Clark
Mississippi Sweet Potato Council
Tel: +1 (662) 325-1696

Trey Boyette
SMP Southeast Marketing, Inc.
Tel: +1 (662) 682-9575

Bryant Hill
Ham Farms
Tel: +1 (252) 747-8200

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