Business Markets & Pricing Drought Could Pinch East Coast Seed Potato Supply

Drought Could Pinch East Coast Seed Potato Supply

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The drought across the eastern coast of North America this year could put a pinch on seed potato supplies next year for growers in that area, the Oct. 21 issue of North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says.

There was an 8.8 per cent drop in this year’s Atlantic seed area, the report notes. In Maine there was a 4.2 per cent decline in certified seed potatoes, which was inline with the usual year-to-year swings in production.

The drought along the eastern coast of the continent covered both Maine and New Brunswick though — the two major supplies of east coast potato seed. Yields on potatoes in both growing areas are down at least 25 per cent from last year, the report says.

“Some reports suggest that yields on seed potatoes would be down even more, on a percentage basis, than the yields on full-season crops.”

In Minnesota there was a 4.3 per cent increase in certified seed area, marking the states largest increase since 2017, the report notes. A 22.4 per cent increase in the state’s processing seed potatoes is due to the need for more seed in Manitoba, which expanded its potato processing capacity this year.

“While Manitoba has its own seed potato program, it makes sense for growers to have a diversified seed supply. Minnesota and North Dakota are ideally situated to fill that need.”