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P.E.I. potato farmers still feeling summer drought into September

Reference: CBC News

Many potato fields across P.E.I. are not in the condition they are usually at this time of year due to the hot and dry conditions for much of July and August.

"Right now, on a non-irrigated field, if you pull up the potatoes, the row just kind of falls between your hands," said Kevin Murray, a potato farmer in Bedeque with Murray Farms Ltd.

"With no moisture, it's just — not beach sand but pretty close."

The Canadian Drought Monitor had much of central P.E.I. in extreme drought condition as of Aug. 31. While there has been more rain in September, in the first half of the month it is only about half of normal rainfall.

The leafy top of the plant typically dies off slowly before harvest, sending a final burst of nutrients to the growing potato below.

"Normally potato plants do start to die down in September because we're moving close to the primary harvest season, but these plants have been mostly dead now for a week or two," said Ryan Barrett, research and agronomy co-ordinator with the P.E.I. Potato Board.

"They've largely had a lack of moisture which caused them to, sort of, die prematurely. A combination of the lack of moisture itself and then some of the diseases that can, kind of, be brought on by lack of moisture," Barrett said while standing in a field damaged by the dry conditions... Read More