EOTN- Brittish Columbia (Summer 2010)

British Columbia

By Tom Demma,

B.C. Vegetable Marketing Commission

The end of marketing one potato crop is the harbinger for getting the new one under way and off to a good start. Doing so this spring has been somewhat of a challenge for B.C. potato growers farming on Vancouver Island and in the Fraser Valley. Interior growers are reported to be unaffected by the unremitting Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island weather pattern that appears to be headed to run into the first days of summer. The weather pattern is one best described as successive days of light rain accompanied by cooler-than-normal temperatures resulting in limited windows of opportunity for seeding the latter part of the 2010 crop.

Despite the challenges, it is expected the 2010 seeded area for fresh market and seed end uses will be similar to last year. Backward spring weather has slowed crop development where it is running behind the norm. A return to normal weather patterns will put the 2010 potato crop on its proper course.

The B.C. 2009/10 old crop is fully marketed while new crop Warba nuggets are now available in good supply with excellent quality. Both nugget and standard size potatoes coming from earlier seeded acres are being greeted with enthusiasm by consumers shopping at major retailers or green grocers.

At this time of year, and no different from other potato producers farming in other growing areas, B.C. potato producers as well as industry stakeholders are monitoring various production and marketing reports to gain early insights into the North American potato crop, including how potential volumes may affect marketing plans and, in the long run, grower returns.