Man. potato acres expected to top previous year’s

CNS Canada — Manitoba’s potato acres are expected to be up from last year, despite some light reseeding, according to two people involved in the industry.

Dan Sawatzky, manager with the Keystone Potato Producers Association, said most growers are ahead in terms of crop stage development so far this year.

“I know in the process side we are up on acreage, more than 15 per cent up from last year — so, a significant increase,” he said.

Manitoba harvested 62,450 acres of potatoes last year, the lowest since 1995, according to Statistics Canada.

StatsCan hasn’t released projections for 2015, but Vikram Bisht, a potato plant pathologist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, said he expects numbers to be close to 70,000 acres.

“The crops are doing fairly well; I would say 90 per cent of the crop is up. I would say anywhere from just emerging to about eight to nine inches tall. With the temperatures warming up, the crops are starting to grow much better.”

Some parts of the province, including Portage la Prairie and Carman, needed “very minor” reseeding because of cool weather in May.

“Our field moisture is really good right now and we don’t need any more rain for some time,” Bisht said.

Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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