Canada is expected to produce 8.49 million cwt fewer potatoes this year than last at 98 million cwt marking the smallest crop since 2011, the Sept. 16 issue of North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says. The severe drought in the Maritime provinces is the largest driver of the decrease.
While Prince Edward Island’s Russet Burbank crop could still get a boost from some future rains, the rain won’t help other potato crops, the report notes. Table potato supplies will be tight this year as the drought will reduce overall production by 26.3 per cent, the report says.
“Evidence suggests that the dry conditions had a more severe impact on table potato varieties than it had on processing potatoes. In addition, the fresh market will need to compete with fryers and dehydrators for the remaining supplies. Increased production in Quebec and Ontario will not be sufficient to offset the Maritime losses.”
French fry supplies will also be tight. While Manitoba is expected to produce 12.2 per cent more potatoes than it did in 2019, it is far from enough to keep processing plants supplied with raw product, the report notes. Alberta’s crop is predicted to fall 7.9 per cent short of last year, which will leave processing plants there short on supply.
Chip plants in Ontario and Quebec should have have ample supplies of raw product, due to production increases in those provinces. Chip plants in other provinces though will face supply problems due to reduced potato yields, the report says.
The seed potato outlook is mixed, the report notes. Preliminary reports have growers in the Canadian Prairies entering more acres for certification this year, but reports suggest seven to eight per cent of Alberta’s seed crop was drowned out with the remaining acres having good yields. Drought is more likely to have reduced seed production in P.E.I. and New Brunswick, which are Canada’s two latest seed potato growing regions.