Here is your provincial potato association updates from across Canada for the spring 2023 issue of Spud Smart.

Potato Growers of Alberta logo
Photo: Potato Growers of Alberta


By: Terence Hochstein, executive director of the Potato Growers of Alberta

A bit sooner than planned, but we did it — almost a year to the date, the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA) team has been able to move back into our newly constructed head office in Taber, Alta. Where once stood an arch ribbed building that was built in the late 1950s, it has been replaced with a new modern designed office building that will serve the Alberta industry well for the next 50 plus years.

Like all places in North America this year, the Alberta crop took a hit in the yield department last fall. Quality is excellent but every processor will be looking forward to the 2023 crop coming on early and strong to make up for the tight supply this year. Even the seed industry, whose total yield was slightly higher than the previous year, had most of its inventory sold or spoken for by Christmas. With the increase in demand across North America, the ability to find seed, of any variety, will be next to impossible.

The 2022 PGA Conference and Tradeshow, held in mid-November, was once again a huge success. With the absence of the live event the last two years due to COVID-19 restrictions, over 425 growers, family members and industry participants, gathered together for the three-day event. Plans are already underway for the 2023 version to be held Nov. 20 to 22, 2023 at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino in Calgary, Alta.

As spring approaches, contract discussions continue with the Alberta processors as we work towards having settlements prior to going to the field for planting. With the dramatic increases in input costs and rising interest rates the risk of growing potatoes is at an all-time high.

The old Potato Growers of Alberta head office
The old Potato Growers of Alberta head office which was constructed in the late 1950s. Photo: Potato Growers of Alberta
The Potato Growers of Alberta new office
The Potato Growers of Alberta new office in Taber, Alta. which was completed being built in 2023. Photo: the Potato Growers of Alberta
BC Vegetable Marking Commission logo
Photo: B.C. Vegetable Marketing Commission

British Columbia

By: Hugh Reynolds with Reynalda Farms in Delta, B.C.

As Feb. 1 the early potato seed trucks were on the road. British Columbia potato growers were dreaming of planting Warba seed. Since then there have been two major Arctic fronts come through. As of writing on Feb. 27 and the snow is still falling right down to southern California.

Last year I predicted in this spot that it was time for La Nina to end. Now the computers are watching changing indicators and have declared that for sure we are looking at neutral ENSO conditions by May. That means we should get average weather conditions, with western Canada expecting good growing conditions for 2023.

B.C. growers are receiving fair prices with light supplies. Potato quality remains good, and agencies are selling slowly on limited inventory.

Keystone Potato Producers Association logo
Photo: Keystone Potato Producers Association


By: Dan Sawatzky, general manager of the Keystone Potato Producers Association

It’s hard to believe that spring is just around the corner with the cold temperatures and even colder windchill values experienced the week prior to writing this article on Feb. 28. The calendar date is nearing March, the lengthening hours of sunlight, and potato seed movement confirm spring’s eminent arrival.

In-person meetings have been welcomed with enthusiasm, rubbing shoulders and shaking hands with people whom we have not seen in some time. Manitoba Potato Production Days, held the last week of January, was a resounding success, drawing 648 people — shattering the old pre-COVID record of 550. Unfortunately, some couldn’t make it due to flight cancellations. The new location at the venue allowed for more machinery and displays. Demo and speaker sessions were very well attended.

Apart from the usual early storage breakdown, the crop has been storing relatively well. Higher levels of dockage, consisting mainly of hollow heart and undersize, is reflective of the delayed spring planting date and rapid growth experienced to finish the crop. Seed is in tight supply.

Contract negotiations have begun to take place with a couple of recent meetings this past week with both processors in the province. Strong demand and short North American supply coupled with ever increasing costs are pointing to the need to settle in a timely manner for all involved to know how to plan for the future.

Looking forward to a better 2023 production season than we in Manitoba have experienced in some time. Hoping all of you have a great season of growth.

Potatoes New Brunswick logo
Photo: Potatoes New Brunswick

New Brunswick

By: Jean-Maurice Diagle, director of market information for the Potatoes New Brunswick

The New Brunswick 2022 crop produced good yields for the second year in a row (following the worst crop in 2020). Shortages of processing potatoes in the western United States again this year means that eastern raw is moving west again. Movement is much smoother than was the case last year and most of the volume stated to move has been already shipped. Processors are running hard and taking advantage of strong demand for frozen products.

Overall, the storage crop is keeping well and payables at the plants have been slightly lower than the five-year average mostly due to higher incidences of hollow heart and sunburn.

Table potatoes are keeping well, and prices for the product have kept at acceptable levels for the packers even if demand is average. Transportation doesn’t seem to be the bottleneck this year as it was last year and although transportation cost has gone up, availability is adequate.

Seed growers are facing challenges this year as a large influx of aphids were present at the end of the growing season. Lab tested virus levels on the seed crop are significantly higher than it has been in the last number of years and availability of good low virus seed will cause challenges this year.

As we get closer to planting, growers are keeping a close eye on the increasing costs of inputs, fuel, labour and materials and equipment as these costs are increasing significantly for the second year in a row. These factors will likely lead to growers only planting the acres that are under contract. We estimate that New Brunswick will plant the same acres as in 2022.

Ontario Potato Board logo
Photo: Ontario Potato Board


By: Kevin Brubacher, manager of the Ontario Potato Board

Planting season is just around the corner! At the time of writing this in early March, we are less than a month away from when the first early potatoes will be put in the ground. It’s hard to believe with the sporadic shots of winter that keep hitting the province. Winter has been relatively mild with shallow frost levels; this is a concern as far as what disease pressure will be present during the growing season. We expect planting to be in full swing the second week of April in southern Ontario with other areas beginning near the end of April and into May.

Quality has been good on the storage crop, and it’s expected there will be enough potatoes to carry us through to new crop. Red and yellow potatoes are running short and there’s an anticipated strong demand for this product. Overall, marketing of the 2022 crop is running near our five-year average.

Eugenia Banks hosted the Ontario Potato Conference on March 2, 2023. There was a strong turnout as it was the first in person Ontario Potato Conference since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Banks put together an excellent program with a sold out tradeshow. We would like to thank Banks for her hard work in organizing and executing this world class industry event! Thank you Banks!

I wish you all a successful planting season!

Les Producteurs de pommes de terre du Québec logo
Photo: Les Producteurs de pommes de terre du Québec


By: Sarah-Maude Larose-Lavallée, project officer for Les Producteurs de pommes de terre du Québec

2022 was a good growing season for Quebec growers. Movement on the fresh side has slowed down in the last couple of weeks, particularly on the reds. With fewer holdings of reds this year, there’s no concern that the sheds will be empty in a timely manner. Overall, the current stock of potatoes is lower than the 2022 numbers, but still higher than the average stock levels over the past five years. Most packers are reporting having ample supply to meet demand and next year’s crop. Pricing has been good and stable. In the processing sector movement has been strong with plants running at capacity. Processor contracts are still in negotiations.

As we look toward spring, there are several uncertainties that could affect next year’s planting intentions: labour availability, input costs, market demand and pricing, weather conditions. With the current state of the market, acreage is expected to remain flat.

Our annual general meeting will be held virtually on March 30.

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