b"ADAPTING IN REAL TIMEAs the pandemic took hold early in 2020, it became clear planting plans for the potato industry would have to change, largely because of significant demand reductions for french fries. The service industry accounts for about 70 per cent of the fry market, and with restaurants shuttered and festivals on hold, demand slid. I dont think weve had a single regional major manufacturer or growing region that hasnt been somehow impacted by this as it has slowly become such a major part of our lives, Peter Dawe, chief strategy officer for McCain Foods, says in a phone interview.But as demand from the food service industry dwindled, fresh potato sales skyrocketed across the country with grocery stores scrambling to keep spuds Potatoes are in stock, according to produce packers across the country.sorted on a farmNew potatoes start to come to market in the third week of July with Ontario before shipment.first, MacIsaac explains. The other provinces follow with Manitoba bringing up PHOTO: UNITED POTATO GROWERS OF CANADA the final stocks toward the end of August.It usually is a balancing act to ensure all of last years stocks are sold before the new potatoes are ready. But this year is different as manufacturers hunt for remnants of the 2019 crop. When word of the cuts first came to light, many growers sold to the dehydrated or livestock feed markets. I think growers have been all very, very worried, Dawe explains. There has been a lot of uncertainty over the reduction in acreage for this coming summer. Weve tried to provide input as our demand plans change.We're really cognizant that without the growers, there is no processing sector. And it's incredibly important to us that we work to support the agricul-ture sector so that it's better for the agri-food sector thereafter.GLOBAL DEMAND, SHUFFLING STOCKSThe UPGC has been working closely with the United Potato Growers of America for at least a decade in order to better predict market fluctuations, MacIsaac says. Canada currently exports a small percentage of fresh potatoes into the United States market but sends a significant amount of frozen potato products there.The U.S. sends a great deal of its processed crop to markets like China and Japan, MacIsaac says. Canada acts as a backfill supplier.Fresh potatoes from the U.S. tend to come into the Canadian market, most-ly into the western provinces, in the early summer when homegrown stocks are typically low and the new crop is still in the field, MacIsaac adds.Each year, the Crop Transition Conference is held near the end of June to predict the market needs of both countries as the old crop dwindles and the new crop comes to market. MacIsaac, like all other interested parties, attended virtually this year.This year we were expecting to be dealing with a glut in the market and wondering how we would dispose of last years crop, MacIsaac explains. But things changed so rapidly that were know trying to balance the small stock that remains. PROVINCE BY PROVINCEPotatoes are Comments are provided by the UPGC as of June 24, 2020.prepared forPrince Edward Island: Planting on the island finished almost two weeks shipment.ahead of when it did last year with most fields now emerged and in need of PHOTO: UNITED POTATO GROWERS OFrain. Preliminary surveys have acreage down 2,500 acres to 83,000 acres. This CANADA is mostly due to a six to seven per cent reduction in processing contract vol-ume. Chip acreage is up slightly, while fresh acres are relatively unchanged. Old crop is expected to be cleaned up with processors having committed to 12 SPUDSMART.COM SUMMER 2020"