Prince Edward Island:
Rain has been the most limiting factor on PEI the last month or so. Fortunately most of the Island received 15 to 20 mm this past weekend and more is predicted for midweek. It is hard to project the impact of the dry conditions on final overall yield but at this time the projected average yield will be down to 270 cwt./acre from last year’s 279 cwt./acre. New crop movement has been limited primarily to local PEI and Atlantic Canada fresh markets as well as for early chip processing in NS. Early harvested potato yields have been light and quality is good. Early fresh prices are good and should be maintained considering good demand and limited early supply in the region. Tens are averaging around $3.00. P.E.I.’s main processor will start using new crop in early September.
The crop went into the ground earlier than last year and has had nearly ideal growing conditions since then. The New Brunswick Department of Agriculture confirmed its first late blight incidence last week in the parish of Andover. The yield potential could match or exceed last year’s 315 cwt./acre. Growers planted 2,150 fewer acres this year so overall production should be less.
Quebec estimates yield around 280 cwt./acre this year, which would be down from last year’s 316 cwt./acre. It was hot and very dry during the last few weeks, particularly in the south and in the Joliette area, and that has affected yield. The northern part in the Saguenay area has been extremely wet during the month of July but has not received rain since the first of August. Fortunately, most areas in the province received rain this weekend, which will be beneficial. Harvest began in mid July and is progressing like a normal year. Some areas are below average yield so far. Quality is very good, with good size on reds, and yellows looking good as well. Some growers are packing full swing. Quebec producers are pleased with the recommended Federation price of $3.00/10 pounds for round white and $3.75 for reds and yellows. On the processing side, it seems there are no more old crop potatoes available and some buyers are asking growers to deliver loads of new crop earlier than usual.
Extremely dry conditions have plagued Ontario’s potato growing area this summer. Particularly hard hit is the early season production in southern Ontario. The London area did receive 85mm this weekend but is too late for growers who have already begun harvest with disappointing early yields. A lot of production in the Alliston area is irrigated on somewhat heavier soils but growers have been complaining about the oppressive heat affecting the crop. NAPMN reports that chip plants have been bringing in potatoes to supplement local supplies. The usual harvest pressure on table prices has not materialized so far this year due to limited supply. Reported prices have been raised to around the $3.00/10lb. level to match those of Quebec. Ontario’s yield could be lowered to 200cwt./acre this year compared to last year’s 230cwt./acre.
Fresh: Table and chip potato acres are both partially affected by severe water damage. The area south and east of Winkler has had the same severe storms that the major red potato growing area of North Dakota has experienced. It is likely that at least half the acres in this area are lost. On the other hand, the other areas look exceptionally good and will experience record yields. In summary, we expect to have average yields and good quality. Fresh pricing is good now and should continue strong because of the huge losses in North Dakota. Many growers in ND are saying it is the worst crop they have ever experienced. Growing conditions are excellent right now for those crops that are healthy – but wet enough that it won’t take much rain to push it towards damaging. Chipping potato and table potato harvesting is in its second week with good yields.
Processing: Growing conditions continue to be advantageous for strong yields in the processing sector. These conditions are also conducive for the development of late blight, which is becoming fairly widespread throughout the province. Yields are expected to be similar to last year’s 323 cwt./acre. Overall production in the province should be much lower as growers cut back 4,000 acres this year in response to contract volume reductions by processors. First ranger fields are scheduled to begin harvest August 17-18 on a limited basis due to large supply of old crop to be run into September. Random checking does not reveal any quality concerns.
Growing conditions have been good, beginning with an early start going into the ground. This year’s seed crop in the northern area of the province could be one of the best ever, with an excellent heavy set. The only issue will be maintaining a size profile. The process crop looks to be slightly above average, with fry plants getting ready to start field run at the end of this week. Harvest has already begun on some early chippers. There have been a few weather related issues, which could which could lower yield compared to a record-breaking 384cwt./acre in 2015. Current Alberta projection is at 370cwt./acre.
This year’s crop went into the ground early in BC and has developed under ideal conditions. Timely rains have generated high yields. This could be their best crop in several years. Last year’s yield was around 274 cwt./acre but this year could reach the 300-315 cwt./acre range. They have been harvesting some varieties for several months now and russet harvest began last week. Prices are good – 10lb red standards are $2.07, whites 10lb $2.18, and yellows $2.66. Russets are too few to price, but many are killed. Quota is now on, as supply exceeds demand.
Source: United Potato Growers of Canada