After One Of Industry’s ‘Worst Years’ Last Year, Potato Harvest Ramps Up In Wisconsin

Sep 23, 2019

Credit WPVGA

The Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) calls last year one of the worst years in the state potato industry’s history.

Thousands of acres of potatoes had to be left in the ground after an early deep frost stopped the harvest.

Tamas Houlihan calls this week a “big week” for Wisconsin potato farmers hoping to recover from last year.

Houlihan is the Executive Director of the Antigo-based WPVGA.

“There were still a lot of potatoes in the ground in October when that frost hit last year.  So, yes, we had a lot of growers hurt financially with rotten potatoes and potatoes that just couldn’t be harvested,” Houlihan said.  “This year truly is a recovery year for a lot of our growers.”

The potato harvest will likely reach its peak this week.

Houlihan says nights that are cool, but not too cold, help potatoes bulk up and grow thick skins.  He’s also hoping for dry weather.

This year truly is a recovery year for a lot of our growers.

“Particularly in Antigo, with the heavy silt loam soil, when it rains, especially if you get an inch or more, it sits in the field for awhile, and it will shut a harvest operation down for a couple of days,” Houlihan said.

Wisconsin grows the third-most potatoes in the country, behind only Idaho and Washington.