Heat and Dryness Impacts Yields in Southern Idaho
US Idaho’s 2021 potato crop, seriously hit by both heat and dryness, will almost certainly face a negative growth level, as seen by Idaho Farm Bureau Federation’s spokesman, Sean Ellis.
According to his press statements, cited by KMVT, while some crops may do well in warm and dry summers, like corn, others, unfortunately, don’t do so well.
“I’m not saying that Idaho won’t have any of the bigger potatoes they’re famous for. There’s just not going to be as many this year. The heat has had a real impact on the potatoes (…). It’s no big secret that Idaho has had a serious drought this year,” said Ellis.
Even though farmers having more than adequate water rights to mitigate the drought, it hasn’t been enough.
“I’ve talked to some guys who just couldn’t get their pivots around fast enough because of the heat,” added the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation’s spokesman.
USDA data shows that Idaho farmers planted more than 127,400 hectares of potatoes this year, which is up 5% from 2020. However, the yields aren’t looking too promising. From 2017-2019, average yields ranged between 28,5 tons per hectare and 30,2 tons per hectare. As a consequence of the heat this summer, yields are expected to take a hit.
“I’ve never seen anything like this year as far as global weather goes,” says Jeff Bragg, a local farmer. “Looking at the global supply regions that work unilaterally, it’s very unusual.”
As a word of advice, Bragg recommends farmers reimagine their soil by using less water now and saving groundwater for next year.
“Basically, we really can’t bank on what’s going to happen this fall, winter, or spring,” says Bragg. “We’ve got to take care of our soil as if it’s a reservoir too.”