Despite a drought in Western Canada, good growing conditions in the Maritimes pushed Canada to harvest its largest potato crop on record, a Dec. 7 report from Statistics Canada says.
Canadian growers harvested 123.1 million hundredweight of potatoes in 2021, up 18.2 per cent from 2020. The rise is attributed to increases for both seeded area and yield.
New Brunswick and Alberta both reported record production at 18.2 million hundredweight and 24.6 million hundredweight, respectively. The report notes seeded areas in both provinces rose to meet growth in processing demand.
The largest share of Canadian potatoes were produced in Prince Edward Island at 23.2 per cent, with Alberta following at 20 per cent and Manitoba at 19.6 per cent.
Seeded area was up or unchanged from 2020 in all provinces reaching 386,309 acres nationally, the report says. Seeded are rose 14.7 per cent in Alberta, 9.2 per cent in New Brunswick and 9.1 per cent in Manitoba due to expansion in processing and a return to pre-pandemic demand.
A bright spot of the growing season was favourable weather across most of Canada for harvest, the report notes. Canadian growers were able to harvest 98.9 per cent of planted potatoes, with harvested area rising 7.4 per cent to 381,912 acres.
National, the potato average yield increased to 322.2 hundredweight per acre in 2021, up 10.1% from the previous year. The release says favourable growing conditions and increased seeding of higher-yielding processing varieties helped to boost yields in the Eastern provinces. In Western Canada though, yields dropped due to the drought and hot conditions.