Cold weather a worry for WA apple growers, and Idaho potato growers

An early deep freeze has Idaho potato and onion farmers rushing to harvest crops or hoping the buried vegetables will survive the frozen nights this week.

The Idaho Potato Commission says an estimated 15 to 20 percent of Idaho’s potato crop remained in the ground Wednesday. The commission says harvesting during freezing temperatures can hurt the quality of the potatoes, and rushing can lead to accidents.

The Idaho Department of Agriculture says onion growers are in similar straits and working overtime to finish the harvest.

Other crops at risk include sweet corn and dry beans.

The National Weather Service says a low pressure system from Canada is causing the high winds, low temperatures, and snow. Boise’s temperatures were about 20 degrees below average on Wednesday.

 

Meanwhile, the cold weather that struck eastern Washington this week is causing worries for apple growers.

The cold front is expected to last through the weekend, and calls for lows in the 20s in the Spokane region. Cold temperatures in October could hurt what is projected to be the second-largest apple harvest in state history.

Washington Tree Fruit Association President Jim DeVaney says the harvest is about half complete. He notes the crop could withstand some loss from cold weather and still be very large.

The potential for damage depends on factors like an orchard’s location and elevation.  (AP)

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