In 2010, favorable planting conditions allowed an early start to the cropping season. Over 70% of the potato crop was planted by May 17th. Planting was completed 7-10 days earlier than average. Planted acreage for 2010 is estimated at 51,000 acres.
The Total Production Sites (ToPPS) project and Aphid Alert Program began in late May. Crop development, insect and disease pressures were monitored throughout the growing season.
Excellent growing conditions prevailed during June and July. In general, crop development was 10 days ahead of normal. Early harvest for fresh table and potato chip processing started in mid July. In early August, while growing conditions continued to be favorable, early-planted varieties were showing signs of senescence. Dryer weather conditions during late August hastened crop development in many early and mid-season potato varieties. Due to the dry conditions, later varieties such as Russet Burbank, started to exhibit signs of senescence and reduced tuber size. The situation in the northern part of the potato belt, while not ideal, was more favorable due to adequate rainfall. The size profile for later-season varieties improved significantly as a result of rainfall received in mid September. While rainy weather slowed the harvest in late September, 98% of the harvest was completed by mid October. Overall, crop quality is very good and storing well.
Soil and tuber temperatures, along with pertinent weather advisories, were reported daily on the toll free Potato Harvest Hotline from mid September through to late October.
Adverse potato growing conditions in Europe, Western US and Western Canada have raised industry expectations for stronger market conditions this year. In general, there is an air of optimism regarding seed and tablestock prices for 2010-11.
The seed potato export order to Cuba went extremely well this year and was completed on November 13, 2010.
Source: New Brunswick Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries