Here is the coast to coast update on the Canadian potato crop from the United Potato Growers of Canada as of July 23.
Prince Edward Island
The crop is ahead of last year due to earlier planting and excellent growth. Row closure is currently happening with many fields in bloom, there are also still some fields at the tuber imitation stage.
A significant rainfall was received at the start of July which helped break the drought. However, more rain is still needed.
Old crop movement has been better than expected with prices improving during the month of July. Fresh crop stocks are winding down, with processors expecting to have all crop shipped as of September. Some processors have used seed lots and smaller profile potatoes to help them get to a better level of supply.
Based on surveys conducted by the P.E.I. Potato Board, acreage will be down by an additional 1,500 acres from the number reported by Statistics Canada.
Growing conditions have been good after hot and dry conditions in June. Timely rains have kept the crop growing but more moisture is still needed.
Old crop is cleaning up well with limited supplies left on the fresh side. French fry plants have busy trying to keep up with a demand rebound. The dehy plan has been extremely busy cleaning up supply which was originally destined for the processing, seed and table markets.
Local observers are skeptical of the reduction in acres Statistics Canada is reporting. But it is widely know acres were reduced on farms purchased by a local processing company.
The potato crop is looking good due to a rainfall received in mid-July. Plant foliage is looking healthy.
Fresh market shipping has been slower as packers have been dealing with a larger supply of old crop russets than originally expected. New crop is starting to become available with some growers ready to harvest. However, they were holding back on starting as they didn’t want to cause too much of a disruption to the market which is still dealing with old crop.
Statistics Canada has yet to report an official acreage number for Quebec. The estimate provided by Les Producteurs de pommes de terre du Québec for this year is 47,805 acres.
Weather has been hot and dry in southern Ontario, however fields have benefitted from timely rains. Crop development has been running a week behind normal though.
Old crop movement is winding down on the fresh side. Chip supplies in storage were used up quicker than originally expected.
Conditions are dry in the southern portion of the province and are almost on the verge of drought. However top growth on potato plants has been good. Overall crop development has been seven to 10 days behind normal with the first fields of new crop expected to be killed around Aug. 1.
Old crop shipping for fresh potatoes is running short resulting in solid prices for growers. For processing potatoes old crop cleanup has been happening quicker than expected.
Heat has been a challenge on the seed potato crop in the province.
Growing conditions across the province have been varied with too much rain in the north and too little in the south. The central region has had more moderate growing conditions. Two hailstorms set the potato crop back but recovery has been good.
Some old crop processing potatoes have been shipped to Manitoba to the JR Simplot plant. New crop supplies should be hitting Alberta fry processors as of August 25, while chip processors will start at the end of July.
The potato crop has experienced good growing conditions with timely rains. Foliage has been excellent with vines exceeding normal heights on some varieties.
Early varieties are still being dug, but harvest is now moving towards later varieties such as reds and yellows. Russets should be ready at the start of August.