Heat and drought take their toll in Red River Valley

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HIGH temperatures and lack of rain are taking their toll on potato crops in the Red River Valley of North Dakota.

Yields and quality have suffered, according to National Agricultural Statistics, with both processing and fresh stock being affected. Of these, 8% were said to be very poor, 14% poor and 63% fair. The agency rated only 13% of the crop as good and 2% excellent.

Yields of red potatoes grown for the fresh market have been reduced but growers hope recent rains will add weight to the crop and make digging easier.

The Red River Valley is the largest producer of red potatoes in the United States, and North Dakota and Minnesota combined is the third largest potato growing region in the country. Potato farmers in the Northern Plains raise around 62% of potatoes for fry processing, 10% for seed, 12% for chipping and 16% for the fresh market.

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