Canadian Potato Production Down from 2021

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The Canadian potato crop is variable across the country with the overall production total being slightly lower than 2021, the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) said in an Oct. 19 harvest update report.

The potato harvest is in the final stages across the country with most provinces having experienced excellent harvest conditions. The report noted yields have been variable with differences being reported between different regions in provinces.

Nationally production is estimated to be slightly lower than 2021. UPGC noted this isn’t unexpected as Canadian potato acreage remained flat, while there was a bumper crop in most of Eastern Canada for 2021 which isn’t the case this year.

Prince Edward Island

Potato growers in Prince Edward Island have more than 90 per cent of their crop harvested with many expecting to finish over the next week, the report said.

Weather has been excellent since Hurricane Fiona, which delayed the start of the storage crop harvest. The report noted that due to excellent weather the harvest will be completed on time or in some cases ahead of normal even.

Production is expected to be similar to last year, UPGC said. Planted potato acreage in P.E.I. was down just over 5,000 acres, with UPGC estimating production to be lower than last year by five to 10 per cent, however it will still be about five per cent above the five-year average.

New Brunswick

The potato harvest is winding down in New Brunswick with lower reported yields than last year, overall it’s a decent crop though. The report said harvest conditions have been generally good due to there not being very cold temperatures.

As there’s not the bumper crop like last year, and there has been some low gravity issues reported which has processors forecasting an increase the quantity required, it’s unlikely growers see movement of potatoes out west as they did last year, the report noted.

Potato production is estimated to be lower than last year but there will still be close to an eight per cent increase in production over the five-year average, UPGC said.

Quebec

While the fresh potato harvest in Quebec is wrapping up there has been some delays due to cold temperatures in the evenings and morning shortening the harvest day, the report noted.

Growers have been happy with the crop despite the cold wet spring. UPGC said while growers are reporting good good quality, they are seeing only average yields and a bit smaller size profile.

Demand has been good for fresh potatoes since Labour Day with pricing holding well. The report noted that production is expected to be slightly less than last year but still well above the five-year average.

Ontario

The Ontario potato crop is looking good overall with most potatoes now in storage, the report said. There has been regional differences reported for yields with some disappointed while others are seeing yields above average.

UPGC noted part of Ontario did see a dry growing season with not all farms having irrigation. Hot temperatures during August and into September did break for harvest so growers shouldn’t face the same issues as last year with warm potatoes going into storage.

Potato acreage was down in Ontario this year, which has UPGC estimating Ontario production to be down just over nine per cent from last year, but still on track with the five-year average due to a large harvest last year.

Manitoba

Harvest in Manitoba is now complete for the most part. The report said harvest conditions were very good with most potatoes now being in storage.

Quality of the crop was good, with yields being reported as average to even slightly above average, UPGC noted. Shipping is expected to start soon with many in the province gearing up for demand from American Thanksgiving.

UPGC is estimating Manitoba potato production to be up around six per cent which is inline with the planted acres increase and despite the cold, wet spring which delayed planting by up to three weeks in some areas.

Saskatchewan

The seed potato harvest in Saskatchewan is now complete for the most part, the report said. Quality has been reported as excellent with growers having experienced good growing conditions all season.

Alberta

The Alberta potato harvest finished about Oct. 12 with favourable conditions overall helping to get the crop out of the ground, UPGC said.

A hail storm in July along with hot temperatures in August caused disappointing yields. Quality is good though, however the size profile is variable with many reporting potatoes to be smaller than average.

The report noted the resulting supply is one that may be short of what the processors need and would like to see for the upcoming months. Despite this and due to an increase in planted acreage, UPGC estimated potato production to be up possibly five pre cent overall compared to last year.

British Columbia

The potato harvest in British Columbia is almost complete with it expected to wrap up this week.

The report noted growers in B.C. had almost no rain for the past three months combined with hot temperatures throughout August and into September. Temperatures dropped in mid-September which allowed for good harvest conditions.

Potato yields are being reported as lighter this year with a smaller size profile overall, UPGC said. It’s reported though that quality is better than expected so production should be down around eight per cent compared to last year.

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