PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Officials with the Maine Potato Board said Monday that weeks of heat and sunshine in July have done wonders for this year’s potato growing season.
Don Flannery, executive director of the board, said that this year’s crop is looking wonderful so far.
“We did get the crop in a little later than normal,” he said. “I don’t know if there was a reason for it, but with the heat and sun we’ve had this month and the recent rain and the rain we’re supposed to see this week, we should get caught up.”
According to Flannery, despite some parts of Aroostook County and the state receiving up to 4 inches of rain when Hurricane Arthur moved through the state over Independence Day, growers did not see substantial damage to their fields or crops. There also have not been any serious reports of late blight, other crop diseases or damage from pests.
“It’s been a really quiet season,” he said.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, growers have planted approximately 53,500 acres of potatoes across the state this year, which is down slightly from the approximately 55,000 acres of potatoes planted last year.
Reflecting on the reduction in acreage, Flanagan said, “I think we had only one grower retire and maybe another sold out to his neighbor.
“There has not been a big change in the industry at all. Right now, we are on schedule for a great season.”