Maine potato growers focus on drought resistant varieties

Source: Fresh Plaza

The Maine Potato Board has stated that the drought conditions from last year resulted in a potato crop yield that was down 20 percent state-wide.

Mike Hart, director of sales and marketing at Green Thumb Farms in Fryeburg, said: “We are hopeful we’ll get a little more water than we did last year.” Maine Potato Board’s Don Flannery added that the industry is working to keep growing quality spuds. “We’ve had three dry years here in Maine as it relates to the potato industry… they were dry, drier and absolutely dry.”

According to Flannery, Maine’s potato acreage will go up this season. “We were down last year about 1,000 acres planted and that was due to COVID-19 and there were fewer potatoes contracted,” he said. “I think we are at a better place coming in this year and I think we will see that acreage come back.”

Maine had three dry years since 2018, and although not many potato acres are irrigated in Maine, Some Maine farmers are adapting by growing more drought resistant varieties like the Caribou Russet and Queen Anne.