Supplies of potatoes from Canada’s Prince Edward Island province are very tight.
“We’re short in Canada and I know they’re also short in Europe and the U.S. has issues as well and it’s due to weather,” says Jennifer Harris of Mid Isle Farms in Albany, PEI. “We had everything. We had a wet spring which delayed growers getting into the fields for planting and then we had a very dry summer that affected yields. And then when October came, it rained and then froze much earlier than it normally would.”
Harris notes that provincially, the estimate is 7,000 acres of potatoes were left in the field as a result of the weather variations.
Handling Demand Pressures
At the same time, with good demand for potatoes, Harris notes Mid Isle has turned to economics 101 to manage supplies. “It’s carefully managed based on prices,” she says. “There’ve been higher prices and that’s slowed demand but unfortunately it diverts demand to other regions.” Prices on Russet Potatoes have increased by approximately 18% over last year.
Looking ahead, Harris expects demand will continue to be strong for PEI potatoes. “Ontario and Quebec will both be cleaning up so I expect more regions will come to us for product,” Harris notes. And while export numbers have gone up overall, for the U.S., they’ve dropped slightly. “Idaho had a decent crop while Wisconsin had troubles. But they are okay for supply down there,” she says.