Louisiana sweet potato growers harvest average-sized crop

11/04/2013 02:09:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

Louisiana sweet potatoesCourtesy Louisiana State UniversityLA 07-146 has a dark red skin that consumers may not accept.The fresh market should be smiling at the sweet potatoes coming out of Louisiana fields.

Although a cool, wet spread delayed planting, nearly ideal growing conditions promoted a large volume of No. 1's, according to a news release.

At the same time, growers are harvesting fewer jumbo potatoes used for processing.

"For the fresh market, that is ideal," Louisiana state University AgCenter sweet potato specialist Mavis Finger said in the release. " The processing sector would like bigger sweet potatoes, but the fresh market will be very happy this year."

Altogether, the state's sweet potato growers expect average yields.

Beauregard remains the main variety. Two new varieties—Orleans and LA 07-146—also were planted this year.

The latter variety outproduced Beauregard by about 15 percent to 20 percent.

Most LA 07-146 will go to processing because of its dark red skin that consumers may not accept. But the new variety does have a sweeter flesh than Beauregard.

Growers planted about 7,500 acres of sweet potatoes this year, about 25 percent than last year.

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