AgronomyCrop ProductionUSDA Reports 2.4 Per Cent U.S. Potato Acreage Increase

USDA Reports 2.4 Per Cent U.S. Potato Acreage Increase

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Potato growers in the United States have planted 943,000 acres of potatoes, which is up 2.4 per cent from the 2020 acreage, the July 1 issue of the North American Potato Market News (NAPM) says. The acreage numbers come from the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report.

The largest increases were in Idaho, Washington, and Maine, while the biggest drops were in California and Wisconsin. Acreage numbers in Florida, Oregon, and Texas were unchanged from last year.

The USDA report is lower than NAPM‘s June forecastNAPM notes there are several surprises in the USDA report, including a few questionable ones.

  • Sixty-nine per cent of this year’s crop is Russet potatoes
  • Russet potato acreage is up 5.4 per cent from 2020
  • White potato varieties are 20 per cent of the 2021 crop, but acreage dropped 5.4 per cent from last year
  • Red potatoes account for seven per cent of acres, while acreage fell 5.7 per cent from 2020
  • Yellow potato acreage is four per cent of total acreage, up 13.5 per cent from 2020

“Data on Russet acreage and changes would be affected the least, as that type makes up the largest portion of the crop; however, the variation could be huge for Red and Yellow varieties,” NAPM notes.

This acreage could lead to a 430.2 million hundred weight crop, the report says. This would be a 3.9 per cent increase from the 2020 crop.

“The final output will depend upon growing and harvesting conditions for the remainder of the season. However, (Pacific Northwest) yields may be reduced due to the recent excessive heat. Yields in the San Luis Valley could also drop after severe hail damaged the crop last weekend,” NAPM says.

Western Canada/Pacific Northwest Heatwave

Potato crops in parts of Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest are battling a record breaking heatwave. Temperatures have been as high as 38 C to 48 C for the past week, NAPM says.

“Steady winds have been drying out the crop, making it impossible for irrigators to keep up. Extended high temperatures in June and early July are not typical and their effect on the 2021 crop remains to be seen,” the report notes.

Some fields had reached row closure by the time the heatwave hit, but many had not, NAPM says. Plants have shut down and stopped growing with row closure unlikely until temperatures cool down.

“Though the full impact of the heat on this year’s crop will not be known for several weeks, it is certain to reduce yields and could potentially cause size and quality issues for Alberta’s 2021 crop.”

North American Potato Market News Sold

NAPM has been sold to Eborn Agribusiness LLC, owned by Benjamin Eborn, a news release included in the July 1 report says. 

Eborn joined NAPM in July 2021, he had previously worked as an extension agricultural economist having spent the past five years developing Idaho potato costs and returns estimates. He has a Master of Science degree in agricultural economists from the University of Idaho.

Bruce Huffaker, president of NAPM, has agreed to work with Eborn Agribusiness LLC on a consulting basis during the transition, the release notes.

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