Rains leave north Florida potato production unscathed - The Packer

Rains leave north Florida potato production unscathed

06/06/2012 09:54:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Though rains from Tropical Storm Beryl flooded north Florida potato fields, grower-shippers say rain damage and the muddy fields didn’t harm the deal’s overall quality and volume.

Most north Florida growers were finishing harvest the week of June 4, said Adam Lytch, operations manager for Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc., which grows and ships reds, whites and yellows from Bunnell, Fla., Hastings, Fla., and Palatka, Fla.

Lytch said L&M plans to harvest through June 20 from later plantings.

Though the Bunnell region received 10 inches of rain and L&M lost some 40 acres, Lytch said quality remained strong and said the small loss of volume shouldn’t affect the deal. He said other north Florida growing areas received three to four inches of rain.

Quoting $16.50 per cwt., Lytch said red potato prices are half what they were last season.

“The reds we are digging yesterday and today are the nicest we have dug all season,” he said June 5. “And finally, we are digging potatoes that were not affected whatsoever by the (February) freeze. Movement has been good. We should have consistent production.”

Lytch said L&M was about 85% finished with its Bunnell harvest.

North Florida production normally starts in late April and runs through early to mid-June. Lytch said L&M plans to start North Carolina production on time around June 18.



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