Despite a drought in Western Canada, the country’s potato production will rise by 15.2 per cent to 117.6 million cwt from 2020, the August 12 issue of the North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says. A 17,000 acreage increase is pushing production expectations higher.
NAPM is projecting Canada’s average yield to increase to 316.5 cwt per acre, up from 293.7 cwt last year and breaking the record 2017 yield of 313.7 cwt per acre. Strong yields from the eastern provinces will make up for reduced yields in the West, the report says.
“Several of the eastern provinces could produce record large yields due to nearly ideal growing conditions this year. On the other hand, the western provinces have been dealing with extreme heat and drought for most of the summer.”
The drought conditions in Western Canada could eat into potato supplies for the upcoming year though, the report notes.
“NAPM’s August production forecast assumes normal growing conditions for the next 30 days. That period will be critical for this year’s crop. Without relief from current conditions during that time, yields could be much lower.”
Parts of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia have experienced very little precipitation since June, coupled with extremely hot temperatures. On the other hand though, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario have experienced excellent growing conditions. Yields in those provinces could exceed our estimates if they receive timely rain, NAPM says.
Table potato supplies should be plentiful as most of Canada’s table potatoes are grown in the eastern provinces. Processors are eager to begin running new crop supplies as 2020 crop has been tight for months.
“Growers in several of the major processing potato growing areas expanded acreage to meet contract volume increases. However, production could be constrained by drought and excessive heat.”
Chip potato production in the eastern provinces should be sufficient for industry usage requirements, the report notes.
While seed producing areas in the West have suffered from record-breaking temperatures and had very little rain, areas in the East have had nearly ideal growing conditions. Circumstances were reversed last year, and seed supplies are expected to be plentiful in the eastern provinces, while supplies could run short in the West.