Heat Stresses Washington Potato Crop - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Heat Stresses Washington Potato Crop

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KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) - Recent hot weather in Eastern Washington is hurting the state's potato crop.
    
The executive director of the state Potato Commission, Chris Voigt, told the Tri-City Herald  (http://bit.ly/12FV33W ) growers were headed for a record-breaking yield before the heat stress hit. Now growers are looking at average yields. Voigt says the potatoes are smaller than normal but the quality is "outstanding."
    
Washington is the nation's second-largest potato producer, after Idaho. Farmers planted 160,000 acres of potatoes this year, mostly in the Columbia Basin. They harvested 9.8 billion pounds last year. Potatoes are the state's fourth-highest-valued commodity, after apples, milk and wheat.
    
The harvest has begun and will continue into October.
    
About 80 percent of the state's potatoes are turned into frozen food such as french fries or hash browns.

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