U.S. Potato Crop Forecast Down 2.6 Per cent

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A pile of potatoes
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With the 2021 potato harvest wrapping up in the United States, its anticipated growers will produce 409.2 million cwt of potatoes during the 2021 season — 10.84 million cwt less than they produced in 2020, a 2.6 per cent decline, the Oct. 7 issue of the North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says.

The forecast is based on early October harvest reports and harvest conditions have been mixed. Several Eastern growing regions have received more than double their normal rainfall during September, according to the report.

“This year’s average yield is forecast at 437 cwt per acre. That is 23 cwt below the 20-year trend and 24 cwt below last year’s average yield. The lower average yield is the result of a drop in yields for Idaho and the Columbia Basin — both posted near-record yields in 2020,” the report notes.

Exports Up in August

The report states the U.S. exported seven million cwt of potatoes and potato products during August.

“A year earlier, after the onset of the pandemic, August 2020 potato exports dropped to their lowest level since 2014. August 2021 exports nearly match the 2019 export volume,” the report states.

Another piece of good news: the value of the August potato exports exceeded the value of imports by US$9.58 million, according to the repot. The U.S. also set an exporting record, with a record 1.27 million cwt of fresh potatoes during August.

Shipments Down in September

The report notes U.S. packers shipped 6.80 million cwt of fresh potatoes during September.

“That fell 883,000 cwt short of 2020 sales, an 11.5 per cent decline. Fresh potato shipments during September were the smallest for the month in modern history. September 2021 movement fell 13.1 per cent below the five-year average,” according to the report.

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