Left behind: Manitoba estimates 13,000 unharvested acres
By Stephanie Gordon
After a tough harvest, Manitoba leads all the other provinces in unharvested acres. In 2019, the province saw an estimated 13,000 acres of potatoes left in the ground, more than double the 5,300 acres left in 2018.
See the map below to see an estimate of unharvested acres for 2019, and hover your mouse over each province to see how this year compares to 2018 (if information was available):
Manitoba’s potato harvest was characterized by rains that waterlogged soils at the start of harvest, a snow blizzard over the October long weekend, and an abrupt stop to any progress when the ground froze for the winter on October 26.
Kevin MacIssac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, wrote in his winter update that “The Canadian industry sympathizes with this extremely tough situation for Manitoba growers.”
Dan Sawatzky, manager of Keystone Potato Producers Association, told CBC News that this represents 27 per cent of the year’s crop. Despite this, Manitoba’s estimated yields are still strong, sitting at 10 cwt./acre above their five-year average.
Other provinces, such as Alberta, Prince Edward Island, and to a lesser extent, Quebec and Ontario, also saw notable amount of acres left unharvested.
Alberta estimated 4,385 acres of potatoes were left unharvested as a result of its own experience with wet and stormy harvest conditions.
Prince Edward Island estimated 1,500 acres were left unharvested, a sharp decline from the Island’s previous harvest in 2018 which saw 6,800 acres of potatoes left behind.
Quebec also saw a decline in the amount of unharvested acres. In 2018, the eastern province recorded 1,730 of acres left behind, and in 2019, only 385 acres of potatoes were left behind this time round.
Ontario saw an increase in the amount of unharvested acres, doubling to an estimated 500 acres of potatoes left unharvested in 2019.