Less Spuds in Canadian Storage This Year

A pile of potatoes
Photo: Pixabay

Canadian potato stocks as of May were 3.89 million cwt less than last year, the May 13 issue of North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says. Stocks dropped in Alberta, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, while stocks rose in Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia.

The country’s April potato disappearance was up by 19.7 per cent from last year. Processing usage and table potato disappearance increased sharply, while seed potato movement was down from last year, the report notes. Provincially disappearance was mixed across all of the Canadian provinces — usage fell in the Maritimes, while increasing for all other provinces.

As of May 1 Canada had 3.67 million cwt of table potatoes in storage with April usage 6.6 per cent higher than a year before. NAPM notes many growing regions could clean up their table potato supplies earlier than usual this year.

Fryers in Canada are continuing to slow production to stretch out remaining supplies, the report notes. Provinces with frozen processing capacity held 17.32 million cwt of processing potatoes on May 1 — which is 16.4 per cent less than last year.

Chip potato disappearance picked back up in April. Ontario’s chip potato usage was 80,000 cwt higher than last year. However, the province still has its largest May 1 inventory on record at 1.36 million cwt, NAPM says. Quebec has 450,000 cwt of chip potatoes in storage, up 16.6 per cent from 2020.

Seed potato movement in Canada was down 0.4 per cent in April. New Brunswick seed potato disappearance fell by 370,000 cwt offsetting increased movement across the rest of the country, the report notes. Canada had 4.69 million cwt of seed left in storage on May 1, down 10.9 per cent from last year.

Planting Update

Potato crops across North America have been going in the ground quicker than usual this spring, NAPM says. There has been frost in a few areas in the Midwest and Idaho, but growers are saying their main concern is slow emergence. There is also worry about dry conditions across the Midwest and into the Canadian Prairies.

“It also might limit irrigation water supplies for some growers. We note that Klamath Basin growers have been told to expect less than 10 per cent of normal water supplies from Upper Klamath Lake,” the report says.

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