The smoky skies have been some of the biggest local headlines over the past couple of days. You’ve heard the warning about the smoke impacting workers, kids practicing high school sports, anyone spending time outdoors and even our livestock.
But what about area produce crops, specifically vegetables? Washington State University’s Tim Waters said one of the most noticeable differences is daytime temperatures that are not getting as high as typical.
“And they haven’t been getting high as quickly during the day, so, we’ve seen an increase in relative humidity, we worry a little more about disease pressure, because the canopy stays wet a little bit longer.”
Waters says it would be very challenging for researchers at any University to replicate smoke like this to get a true cause and effect relationship. But he noted, it looks like potato growers could benefit from the smoke.
“So the moderating climate, the little lower temperatures, is probably better for potato quality. I’ve heard people speculate yields might be a little bit lower, because you are getting less solar radiation, down to the canopy, but I think with potato growers, you would probably rather have a higher quality crop than a half ton higher yield. Because the quality, specifically for processing is going to pay you a lot more than tonnage will.”
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