A month after growers gathered for the annual BC potato variety trial field day on Westham Island, the high hopes expressed for the crop were washed out.
“This is one of the best crops I’ve seen,” remarked United Potato Growers of Canada general manager Kevin MacIsaac at the time. “BC had moisture at the right time.”
And then it didn’t.
A deluge in mid-September left many growers unable to get into their field, where as much as half the crop still lay. While growers anticipated completing harvest by October 1, the end of the month saw several notices of loss filed with provincial crop insurance offices. Corn was also affected.
BC Ministry of Agriculture staff said more notices of loss were expected as harvest progresses.
According to the monthly weather report from climate scientist Greg Jones of Linfield College in Oregon, September was a “wacky month” that blew forecasts out the window. Weather more typical of October and November swept in as troughing over the eastern Pacific and western North America “ushered in unexpectedly cold conditions along with record precipitation in some regions.”
The forecast for the coming weeks is better, however, with Jones predicting conditions for the remainder of the year to be warmer, with normal precipitation levels.