Michigan’s potato growers are feeling the effects of the late harvest. Ben Phillips, vegetable crops educator with MSU Extension, says potato harvest was impacted by late planting and late harvesting.
“According to the Michigan Potato Commission, growers left 3,000 acres of chipping potatoes in the ground this year and weren’t able to recover them because they got too much frost damage,” said Phillips.
If those potatoes would have gone into storage, they would have rotted and spread the rot to other potatoes.
In the news, there’s been talk of a shortage of French fries due to the potato shortage from frost damage. While most of Michigan’s potatoes become potato chips, states like Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Wisconsin who grow fry potatoes are experiencing problems with unfavorable harvest conditions.
“In both cases, it’s a global market—it’s a large national market,” he said. “When there’s a shortage coming from our part of the state or world, that often translates to additional plantings somewhere else further south and then harvest them early and try and make up for a loss.”
According to Phillips, chips and fries are processed to remain shelf-stable. He says there shouldn’t be anything catastrophic.