EOTN-PEI Spud Smart Fall 2010

Prince Edward Island

By Boyd Rose,

Prince Edward Island Potato Board

Getting the Most from our 2010 Crop

As I write this on October 1, we’re just entering our main harvest season. The possibility of bumper potato crops across Prince Edward Island disappeared with the heat and dry spell in August, but many growers are reporting a good quality crop with average yields. We won’t know the full situation until the crop is all under cover.

Many of us have been following the reports of weather-related crop losses in major producing areas this year. Areas as diverse as South Africa, Russia, Germany and Pakistan have suffered significant decreases in potato production, and potatoes will have to move from other areas of the world to help fill the void. Prices should be higher as a result of the reduced supply and stronger demand, and higher prices are definitely being received by producers in many areas.

Closer to home, some areas of Canada and the United States are also predicting lower production this year. Idaho, Wisconsin and Alberta are all experiencing less than ideal growing conditions. P.E.I. Potato Board staff and our exporters are fielding many more enquiries from buyers around the world, and we are also seeing good movement to offshore markets to date this season. There is no reason to think this will change, and our challenge is to be very aware of the supply situation in Prince Edward Island, Eastern Canada and North America this marketing season. Analysis by the board shows that we will have no difficulty in moving our entire crop, and that there is no need to force anything into the market this year. As growers, we know that we need good money for this crop to cover our 2010 production costs and to help repay some of the substantial losses from the 2009 crop.

We need to make smart decisions as we move this year’s crop. Please take the time to check out the market and the supply before you accept a price for any or all of your potatoes. Last year’s prices were lower than they should have been, and conditions are in our favour to do much better this year. Consumers always get value when they buy potatoes—let’s get the best possible return for our efforts and investment so that we’re still in business to give them that quality and value for years to come.