U.S. Potato Production to Drop 0.2 Per Cent: NAPM

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Potato harvester
Photo: Pixabay

Potato production in the United States will be down by 0.2 per cent from the 2020 crop at 413.6 million cwt, the August 5 issue of the North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says.

Growers are likely to harvest 935,200 acres of potatoes this year. The report notes this is 21,100 acres more than 2020, but yield will be down causing smaller overall production. NAPM is forecasting an average yield of 442 cwt per acre, down from 2020’s yield of 453 cwt per acre yield.

“The biggest factor holding the average yield down is this year’s extreme heat and drought over the Pacific Northwest. In addition, growing conditions in several other producing areas have been challenging this year.”

NAPM says russet table potato supplies could decline during the marketing year as intense heat in the Pacific Northwest and hail damage in the San Luis Valley could reduce crop sizes. Fryers may also need to purchase open market Russets, which could further tighten supplies.

Storage red potato supplies may also be down this year as acreage is down 5.7 per cent overall and growing conditions in the Red River valley could significantly reduce yields there.

Frozen processing potato supplies could be tight again this year, the report notes. Domestic and export demand has been strong for french fries and while contract volumes are larger than 2020, they are still below 2019 levels.

“Fryers have the capacity to run more potatoes than they have under contract. Yields in some of the key processing states could be reduced due to adverse growing conditions. If demand remains strong processors may need to pick up open market potatoes.”

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