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Harvest moving along nicely

ELMSDALE -- With a little bit of rain falling Thursday morning, W.P. Griffin Inc.’s owner-operator Peter Griffin was enjoying a few hours of relative relaxation. Machinery would be back in the potato field by afternoon, he said. Potato equipment works a field in Glengarry earlier this week. With good digging condition, the Island’s spud harvest is close to 75 per cent complete.

“I’ve never seen a fall like this one in my life,” the Elmsdale-based potato grower and shipper said. He indicated conditions have been great for digging, dry enough that there has been practically no strain on equipment.

P.E.I. Potato Board executive director, Greg Donald, said many farmers described the fall of 2013 as one of the best they could remember for harvesting potatoes. “I don’t think this fall is too far off,” he assessed.

Although conditions have been reasonably dry, Donald said most regions have received timely rainfall at least once a week.

“Overall, it’s been a terrific year for digging,” Donald said. He estimated the harvest Island-wide will be about 75 per cent complete by the end of the week.

He said growers are not feeling pressed and some are digging just from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and some have been taking Sundays off. Some growers are even taking a few days off to allow spuds to size up a bit more before digging, Donald added.

Griffin estimated his farm’s harvest is about two-thirds complete. That’s right where they’d normally be at this time of year, but actually further along than expected considering a late spring led to a later start to the harvest.

Considering the late spring followed by a dry summer, Griffin said the crop is “surprisingly good.”

Unless the Island gets some heavy rain in the coming days, Griffin estimates their harvest will be complete within 10 days to two weeks.

© Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer

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