Hurricane Isaac mostly spared Louisiana sweet potato growers, with delays in some areas the only consequence.
Farms in southwest and central Louisiana received about an inch of rain from Isaac, and farms in northeast Louisiana between 4 and 4 1/2 inches, said Matt Garber, a partner in Garber Farms, Iota, La.
Even fields in the northeast part of the state won’t likely be seriously affected, assuming early September doesn’t bring much more rainy weather, Garber said.
“As far as potatoes go, if there are any losses, it looks like as of right now, there will be very little,” he said Aug. 31.
Some growers began harvesting the week of Aug. 27, Garber said. Most should be up and running by the week of Sept. 3, and Isaac-related rains will cause some delays as growers wait for fields to dry out.
Harvest at Dawson Farms, Delhi, La., in the northeast corner of the state, could be delayed up to a week, depending on what happens in the first days of September, said saleswoman Eva Dawson.
A slow, steady drizzle was still falling the morning of Aug. 31 on fields that had already received three or four inches of rain, Dawson said.
But other than delays, Dawson said there were no concerns about effects on quality and yields.
“All of our fields are precision-leveled,” she said. “They’re draining very nicely.”
Dawson also wasn’t worried about the break in harvest hurting Dawson Farms’ ability to market the 2012-13 crop.
“We’ll wait a bit, recharge our batteries and away we go,” she said.
Harvest at Dawson Farms began the week of Aug. 20.
Fields farmed by Earl Roy Sweet Potato Co. LLC, Hessmer, La., received just an inch of rain from Isaac, said Cindy Vead, office manager. Fields were hit by wind gusts, but nothing sustained enough to cause any damage, Vead said.
“We were on the good side of the storm,” she said. “We were very fortunate.”
Earl Roy expects to begin harvest in the middle of the week of Sept. 3.