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[deck]While there’s not much change on the fresh side, total potato crop production in Canada is down slightly from a year ago.[/deck]

CANADA’S POTATO crop production for 2014 is expected to be slightly lower than last year, according to the United Potato Growers of Canada.

Recent UPGC figures show a drop of just over three per cent nationally, with the biggest decline in Manitoba where crop production is expected to be down almost 15 per cent from a year ago.  Quebec, with a close to nine per cent decline, and Ontario, with a nearly six per cent drop, are also down significantly from 2013. However, there are projected increases of about three per cent in both of the two main crop producers in Atlantic Canada, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

Other figures from UPGC show virtually no change in crop production on the fresh potato side from 2013 to 2014. Of the main potato producing provinces, Prince Edward Island, at 10.5 per cent witnessed the largest increase, while Quebec had the biggest decline with a nearly 14 per cent drop.

The declines in total potato crop production can be attributed to cuts in processing acres in many areas coupled with unfavourable weather in most parts of the country at the beginning of the season.

Despite the cold, wet weather that delayed planting for many growers, this year’s crop managed to catch up and was actually doing pretty well heading into harvest, according to Kevin MacIsaac, UPGC general manager.

“The crop was late planting but thankfully we had good growing conditions for some part of the summer,” he says. “We’re looking at pretty favourable yields, I think.”

THE POTATO supply-and-demand picture was also shaping up to be “pretty decent” by summer’s end, according to MacIsaac. “We’re pretty well where we should be in terms of production,” he says.

That’s good news in terms of potato prices, although MacIsaac did caution that a continuation of a market oversupply trend in Idaho could result in some pricing pressure generally in North America.

FALL POTATO
production is up in the United States compared to a year ago, according to Bruce Huffaker’s North American Potato Market News. Huffaker expects U.S. growers to produce nearly 415 million hundredweight of fall potatoes in 2014, a 4.1 per cent increase from 2013.

Market information courtesy of the UPGC, UPGA and iindustry partners, and Bruce Huffaker, market analyst and publisher of North American Potato Market News.