March 15, 2017
Contract chip potato movement has started to pick up. Plants are running almost exclusively on contract potatoes, though a few companies are running short on contracted raw product. At this point there appears to be a tight balance between contract supplies and industry needs.
All eyes in the chip potato industry are focused on Florida weather. Temperatures in the Hastings District will approach freezing tonight. Potatoes are in bloom – much too large to cover up. A slight shift in temperatures could result in severe damage to this year’s crop. The situation in Live Oak is even more precarious. The crop is not as far advanced as it is in Hastings, but temperatures are forecast to drop below 27º F for two to four hours. That could result in major damage to the 4,500 acres of potatoes that are growing in that part of the state.
US fresh potato shipments for the week ending March 11, 2017 totaled 1.826 million cwt. That is up from 1.726 million cwt shipped cwt during the same period, in 2016. Michigan packers shipped 38,950 cwt of table potatoes during the week ending March 11. That is down from 51,545 cwt a year earlier. This year’s Michigan shipments were 61.2% Russets, 33.9% Round White varieties, 3.9% Yellow potatoes, and 1.0% Red potatoes.
Michigan shippers are selling 10# bags of size A Russet potatoes for mostly $1.70-$1.90 per bag, down from $1.80-$1.90 a week ago. Wisconsin packers are selling size A Russet potatoes in 10# bags for mostly $6.50-$7.00 per 50# bale, unchanged for the week. They are selling Russet 40-70 count cartons for mostly $$9.00 per 50# box, up from $8.00-$9.00 at this time last week. The weighted average shipping price for Idaho Norkotahs is $9.62 per cwt, up from $9.27 a week ago.
Maine packers are selling 2-inch minimum Round White potatoes in 5/10# film bags for $8.00-$8.50 per bale, unchanged for the week. Florida packers are selling new-crop 50# cartons of size A Round White potatoes for $24.00-$24.25 per 50# box, unchanged from this time last week.