Hurricane Katrina Update
September 1, 2005
The Shipping Scene - Update
Louisiana sweet potato growers in the northern part of the state only saw wind and rain when Hurricane Katrina hit.
They say the crop remains unaffected.
The harvest is about three weeks late. So far, shippers are seeing good quality with large sizing, said Ryan Quebedeaux, co-owner of Harold Quebedeaux Produce Inc., Mansura, La.
Thanks to dry weather when the crop was planted in early spring, followed by heavy rain in June, the crop developed much slower than normal.
"It went from one extreme to the other," Quebedeaux said. "It slowed the growth way down. But the crop still looks very good. The yields and quality are better than normal for early potatoes."
Lev Dawson, owner of Dawson Farms LLC, Delhi, La., agreed. His company also began harvesting the last week of August.
Dawson Farms increased acreage by about 15% this year.
On Aug. 26, demand was light and the market steady, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A 40-pound carton of U.S. No. 1 medium beauregards out of Louisiana were selling for $14-15, while jumbos were $9-10. The 2004 storage crop was selling at the same rate.
Last year at the same time, 40-pound cartons of U.S. No. 1 medium beauregards were $14.50-15, according to the USDA
LA Sweet Potatoes are the best.