b'Slow Motion Disasterby Ted Kreis, NPPGA Marketing and Communications Director9/24/2019 month in Grand Forks making it the wettestOver5"ofRainHaltsHarvestinGrand September on record topping the 1957 markForks Area But Harvesters Rolling Again in by an inch and a half. It was also the fourththeNorthernValley-Heavyrainrolled wettest of ANY month on record dating backthrough the Red River Valley on Friday night to 1893.andSaturdaymorning.Heaviestamountswere in the Highway 2 corridor with Grand The potato harvest is shut down in the entireForks and Crookston picking up over 5" and valley. Some growers in Walsh and PembinaLarimore about 4.5". The heavy rain extended Counties may get back in the field later thisabout as far south as Hillsboro where 3.7" fell. weekbarringanyadditionalrain,butforThirty-fivemilesfurthersouth,Fargoonly growers to the south it could be much longer,received 0.41". if at all. A dry October is desperately needed.USDA-NASS reports the potato harvest is onlyOnepotatogrowerclosetoGrandForks 40%completeinNorthDakotaand59%expects harvest to be delayed a week or more complete in Minnesota.and predicts hundreds of acres could be lostentirely under standing water. 10/8/2019In my last article that appeared in this maga- Forecast Adds Insult to Injury - Two weekszine, I wrote an article titled Record Rain Meanwhile,thingsaremuchbetterinthe ago potato growers in the Red River ValleyBrings Harvest Hardship.That article was northernvalleywhererainamountswere were very optimistic about this year\'s crop;written the third week of October.At that generally in the 1.5" to 3" range. Dry soil took not so much anymore. Reality is setting intime there was still a glimmer of hope that ontherainnicelyandsomegrowerswere that there will be some substantial losses forgrowers in the Red River Valley region would alreadyharvestingpotatoesbyMonday many growers in the Red River Valley. The lat-still be able to get at least some of the remain- morning. Before the rainfall hit Friday night, est crop report from USDA-NASS is reportingingpotatocropharvested.Atthattime theharvestwas26%completedinNorth that just 45% of the potato crop in NorthUSDA-NASS was reporting that 36 percent of Dakota and 35% complete in Minnesota.Dakotaisharvested,anumberthatpro-the North Dakota potato crop was still unhar- gressed just 9% last week. The numbers arevested.In the immediate Grand Forks area, 10/1/2019 better on the Minnesota side (68%) but stillwe estimated that number to be closer to 75 Record Rainfall Brings Potato Harvest to a 17% behind average.percent unharvested. But growers wishes for HaltintheValley-Additionalrainonan extended stretch of warm, dry weather to Sunday put the month of September in the 10/15/2019get more spuds into storage never really mate- recordbooks.Justover9"fellduringthe Impending Disaster - Grand Forks has seenrialized before a hard freeze hit the regionNovember10ththroughthe13thanddestroyed all potatoes still in the ground.EachweekIpublishtheNorthernPlainsPotato Growers Associations weekly newslet-terPotatoBytesinwhichIwriteaboutthings important to our local potato industryin that particular week.Over the past threemonths, stories dealing with the slow-motioncropdisasterdominatedthenewssoIthought it would be interesting to do a time-line based on some of those articles. Here aresome of the abbreviated highlights: It all started on September 20th when 5" of rain fell in one storm in the GrandForks area. This photo is at the NPPGA Research Farm two miles South ofGrand Forks.4 POTATO GROWER JANUARY 2020'