The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reporting the 2021 American potato crop at 413.16 million cwt, down 1.6 per cent from the 2020 crop, the Nov. 11 issue of the North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says. This exceeds NAPM‘s October forecast by 3.98 million cwt.
At 413.16 million cwt, this marks the smallest U.S. potato crop since 2013 with nine of the 13 reporting starts reporting reduced production. The report notes the USDA increased the planted area in Wisconsin and Michigan by 3,000 and 4,000 acres, respectively.
The USDA is estimating the national yield at 438 cwt per acre, which is down from 461 cwt for the 2020 crop.
Russet table potato supplies will be tight this year, the report notes. Yields in Idaho, the Columbia Basin, and other growing areas fell short of planned output while fryers are also seeking to purchase open potatoes to fill raw product requirements. Red potato supplies are down from last year’s production.
Yellow potato supplies increased though with growers in several areas shifting from red to yellow potatoes this spring, due to lower red prices. The report notes early shipments are running 13.5 per cent ahead of last year’s pace.
Potato Sector Breakdown
NAPM reports the reduced production will impact all sectors of the potato industry, with it being felt most severely in the frozen processing sector. Fryers are actively buying open potatoes throughout the Pacific Northwest, including some Norkotah table potatoes.
“French fry producers face tight supply conditions created not only by crop losses in the U.S., but also by losses in Canada,” the report says.
The table potato supply outlook is mixed with some regions in the east having ample supplies while reduced output in Idaho has limited the overall table potato supply, NAPM says.
Chip potato supplies are plentiful and growers should be able to find enough quality seed potatoes for the 2022 crop. The report notes though growers could face some logistical issues getting seed to where it’s needed.