2016 Michigan potato harvest well underway, with crop to supply U.S. into 2017
On this week's Ag Report on Greening of the Great Lakes, Mike Wenkel, general manager of the Potato Growers of Michigan, Inc., says potato harvest across the state is underway and progressing rapidly.
"The final stages of the potato harvest are well underway in Michigan – our potato farmers first began harvesting potatoes in late July and have started prepping potatoes for storage," says Wenkel. "The 'storage harvest' is one of the final steps of harvesting potatoes to ensure we have potatoes to ship almost year around to retailers across Michigan and the eastern United States."
Wenkel says that while many Michigan potatoes are sold locally in Michigan, they're also used to make 25% of the potato chips in the U.S. – along with fresh hashbrowns in restaurants and a variety of ready to eat potato salads and soups.
Properly storing potatoes in ventilated facilities ensures they will last well through the winter, so farmers in Michigan can supply retailers and processors with plenty of potatoes into next summer.
"If all goes as planned, potato farmers in the state have harvested enough potatoes to supply the market until late June or early July of 2017," Wenkel says.
Overall, potato yields this year are solid, although they won't quite match the record-breaking yields of 2015 at 39,000 pounds of potatoes per acre.
The Ag Report on Greening of the Great Lakes is brought to you by the Agricultural Leaders of Michigan. It airs weekly on News/Talk 760 WJR and features voices from Michigan's growing agriculture sector.