While seed potato production increased in some parts of Canada, a reduction in acres in the Maritime provinces caused overall national seed production to fall, the Jan. 6 issue of North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says.
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), certified potato seed production in Canada fell by 2.3 per cent in 2020. Acreage in the Maritimes was down by 7.3 per cent, with production falling even more due to yield reductions caused by a dry growing season. Meanwhile production increased in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.
Maritime potato seed stocks as of Dec. 1 were down 18.9 per cent. CFIA accepted 16,199 acres of Prince Edward Island potatoes for certification in 2020, which is a 6.5 per cent decline from 2019.
NAPM points out a temporary ban on exports of seed potatoes from P.E.I. to the United States due to a potato wart discovery, is also causing complications for supply.
“Seed potatoes can still move to other provinces but there is no definitive timeline for the resumption of exports from fields not affected. That is creating challenges for both the seed growers and their U.S. customers,” the report says.
New Brunswick seed potato area dropped by 9.2 per cent, with the drought causing yield losses and leading to 34 per cent fewer seed potatoes in storage as of Dec. 1.
In Quebec seed potato area increased by 329 acres to 7,679 acres with fairly widespread increases for most varieties, the report notes. While Ontario is a smaller seed potato producer, seed area in the province increased by almost 40 per cent this year.
In Alberta seed potato area increased by three per cent with substantial increases for Russet Burbanks and Ivory Russets.
Manitoba saw a 4.1 per cent decline in seed area due to a 20.1 per cent reduction in Russet Burbank acres.