Potato stocks in Canada are 17 per cent above the four-year average as of March 1, up 8.1 million hundred weight (cwt), the latest numbers from Statistics Canada say. This is down from 26 per cent as of Feb. 1.
“P.E.I. had the highest in previous months but in the past month have had to destroy almost 3,000,000 hundred weight due to the closure of the U.S. border, bringing holdings more in line with other eastern provinces,” a news release on the numbers from the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) says.
Alberta and British Columbia are the only provinces which reported having below average stocks on hand. Compared to three-year averages, total stocks on hand are the highest in Ontario at 40 per cent.
Total fresh holdings in Canada are estimated at 11.8 million cwt. The release notes fresh stocks are down in both B.C. and Manitoba. In Eastern Canada stocks are 52 per cent above three-year averages with New Brunswick up 87 per cent.
“PEI has had to destroy a significant portion of their fresh potatoes intended for the U.S. market and reflects lower levels compared to last month,” UPGC says.
Processing stocks nationally are 36.5 million cwt, up 14 per cent from historical levels. Stocks in Alberta are 13 per cent below three-year averages. UPGC notes almost all provinces required additional volume to meet their demand increases. Fry and chip processors in Eastern Canada have more of a cushion to work with this year than the last few years.
“Imports into western provinces have been needed to keep plants running at capacity. Industry will likely need any additional stocks to make up shortfalls in the Pacific Northwest production this past crop,” UPGC says.
Nationally seed inventory as of March 1 is close to historical levels at 8.7 million cwt. Provinces with lower seed stocks include Prince Edward Island and B.C., while New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario have larger seed inventories.
“Unfortunately, the seed industry has to wait patiently as growers try to plan acreages based on large increases in cost of production, world conflicts and border issues.”