Potato stocks in the United States as of Feb. 1 are 3.2 per cent larger than they were a year ago, the Feb. 17 issue of North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports the 11 traditional storage states held 206.9 million cwt.
“USDA increased its December stocks estimate by 300,000 cwt. The remainder of the difference is due to extremely low disappearance in the “other” category.”
Three states, including Idaho, Oregon and Colorado, reported increases while seven states reported decreases. Minnesota’s disappearance matched the 2019/20 pace, the report notes.
Usage by processors fell during December and January compared to the year before, the report says. Processors used 1.97 million cwt fewer potatoes, a 5.3 per cent drop, while dehydrators used 2.9 per cent less and other processing use was down 5.9 per cent.
“Russet table potato supplies should be adequate for the remainder of the storage season. Russet table potato shipments have been running near three-year average rates for most of the season. Weak prices suggest that plenty of potatoes are left in storage,” the report notes.
“Storage red potato supplies will be tight during the remainder of the storage season. However, demand remains soft. In contrast, storage supplies of yellow potatoes are cleaning up quickly and prices remain firm.”
Chip supply looks comfortable, the report says. Large supplies in several growing areas should offset any shortfall in the New York potato crop.
“While it is too early to quantify losses to early chip potato crops in Texas, this week’s cold weather has prompted buyers to show renewed interest in any available storage chip potatoes.”