New U.S. Production Numbers Peg Potato Crop at 1.2 Per Cent Less: NAPM

Potato harvester
Photo: Pixabay

Potato production in the United States is predicted to drop 1.2 per cent to 409.2 million cwt this year, the Sept. 2 issue of the North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says. This is 4.4 million cwt less than NAPM‘s Aug. 5 forecast. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release its updated numbers on Sept. 28.

The largest production size adjustments are in the Columbia Basin. NAPM trimmed Oregon’s production by 2.7 million cwt and Washington by 2.4 million cwt, Idaho’s was cut by 1.6 million cwt. The report notes these reductions were partially offset by larger crop estimates for North Dakota, Maine and Michigan. California, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota and Nebraska numbers were unchanged.

NAPM is forecasting the U.S. potato yield at 438 cwt per acre — which is 15 cwt below last year’s yield. The report notes the biggest factor holding this year’s yield down is the extreme heat and drought over the Pacific Northwest.

Growing conditions in August were mixed with temperatures cooling down somewhat in Idaho and the Columbia Basin, however the change came too late to revive crops. The report notes Nebraska, North Dakota and the Red River Valley were hot and dry but have received recent rains. Maine and Michigan received timely rains with excellent growing conditions.

Industry Supply Could be Tight

Russet table potato supplies may be tight this year with NAPM having reduced yield estimates for both Idaho and the Columbia Basin.

“Intense heat has put a damper on yields from those areas. Yields could be strong in Colorado, Maine, Wisconsin, and other areas. Fryers are likely to purchase any open market Russets they can get a hold of.”

Frozen processing potato supplies are expected to be extremely tight again this year. Yields in several key processing states are likely to be reduced due to adverse growing conditions, the report says.

“In addition, crops in Idaho and the Columbia Basin are expected to have quality issues, which will affect finished product recovery rates and quality. Even without the reduced yields, fryers may not have contracted enough acres to meet domestic and export demand for french fries and other frozen products.”

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