N.B. potato forecast weak

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FREDERICTON, N.B. — Potato haulers in this province are praying for rain in the next few weeks, the only hope for what will be an otherwise weak harvest later this month.

Potato New Brunswick president Jeannot Laforge says he expects some cash-strapped potato farmers in the province will have no choice but to pack it in and sell off their lands this winter.

Laforge is predicting a 25- to 30-per cent decrease in yields of early variety potatoes pulled from New Brunswick soil this year. Slower varieties such as Russets have been less damaged by the summer’s drought, he says, although he expects a drop of 15 to 20 per cent in harvests for those spuds, too.

If the weather co-operates and sends down more rain in the next few weeks, the harvest for late potatoes should be salvageable. Laforge says low yields, coupled with low market prices for potatoes, spells trouble for farmers who are already operating on thin margins.

“We need a break somehow, we’re losing money,” he says.

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