PEI Eyes Deep-Well Water

Published online: Feb 13, 2002
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Growers on Prince Edward Island, Can., who had yields hurt by a lack of rainfall last season, are eyeing deep wells to irrigate potato fields this year.

Robert Irving of Cavendish Farms says if the PEI government doesn't approve dozens of wells the future of his company will be in jeopardy.

Seven of the company's 152 growers currently irrigate. The company's statistics for the 2001 crop show yields were 37,000 pounds per acre from irrigated fields, compared to 19,000 from non-irrigated.

Last year only 45 percent of the company's raw product was supplied off PEI. Cavendish Farms requires one billion pounds of potatoes to supply its New Annan french fry markets.

A lack of potatoes is also affecting packing plants where many workers will likely be laid off before the normal packing runs finish.