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[deck]While up from the same time in 2013, the supply of stored potatoes going into summer was still tight — which should make for good prices.[/deck]

Canada’s potato storage holdings as of June 1 were up almost 14 per cent — or just over two million hundredweight — from the year before, according to figures from United Potato Growers of Canada. In Eastern Canada, the storage holdings were up a little more than five per cent, while this figure was considerably higher in Western Canada — just over 27 per cent.

Kevin MacIsaac, UPGC general manager, says while the numbers are up from a year ago, Canada’s stored potato holdings are still tight, which is good news as far as pricing goes. “Supplies really are where they should be for this time of year,” says MacIsaac, adding that 2013 really was an anomaly in terms of a supply squeeze.

“Last year, the pipeline was completely empty at that time and there were just no potatoes left,” he says. “We’re not going to see that level. We’ll see good prices, but not extraordinary.”

MacIsaac says tight supplies could result in added pressure for farmers to harvest their potatoes this crop year sooner than they normally would — which is an issue, considering the delay in planting caused by a cool, wet spring in most parts of the country. “The reality is that 90 per cent of our crop is late,” he says.

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One interesting aspect of the storage market relates to red potatoes. “There are a lot more reds in the marketplace, or in storage available for the marketplace, that are good quality for this time of year,” says MacIsaac. “That’s unusual compared to some other years.”