Chip plants continue to run almost exclusively on contract potatoes. Dealers believe that open potatoes would sell for close to contract prices, but they cannot verify any business at that level. Buyers are in discussions with Florida growers, but there have been no deals so far. The trade expects contract volumes to be down from last year, but buyers are still trying to determine how many potatoes they need. Storage supplies are plentiful, but there are concerns that the potatoes may not maintain quality for as long as they did in 2016.
Canada reports that it produced 105.9 million cwt of potatoes in 2017. That exceeded year-earlier production by 396,000 cwt. Ontario’s crop recovered from the 2016 crop failure. That province produced 7.83 million cwt of potatoes this year. That exceeds the province’s 2016 crop by 1.23 million cwt. More than half of the extra potatoes would be chipping varieties. While production falls slightly short of crops produced in 2014 and 2015, Ontario should have enough chip potatoes to carry plants through the middle of July, if the potatoes hold up that long. Some Ontario potatoes were harvested when temperatures were extremely warm, which may have compromised their quality.
US fresh potato shipments for the week ending November 25, 2017 totaled 1.525 million cwt. That is up from 1.388 million cwt shipped cwt during the same period, in 2016. Michigan packers shipped 54,830 cwt of fresh potatoes during the week ending November 25. That is down from 58,850 cwt a year earlier. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 79.4% Russet potatoes, 11.7% Yellow potatoes, 6.7% Round White varieties, 1.3% Reds, and 0.9% fingerlings.
Michigan packers are selling 10# bags of Size A Russet potatoes for $1.60-$1.80 per bag, unchanged from last week. Wisconsin packers are selling 5/10# Russet potatoes for mostly $7.00-$7.50 per 50# bale, unchanged from last week at this time. Wisconsin 50-70 count cartons are selling for mostly $12.00-$13.00 per box, also unchanged for the week. The weighted average price for Idaho Norkotahs is $17.08 per cwt, up from $16.90 per cwt a week ago.
Michigan packers are selling 10/5# bags of Round White potatoes for $9.00-$11.00 per 50# bale, unchanged for the week. Long Island packers are selling Size A Round White potatoes for $8.00-$8.25 per 50# sack, unchanged for the week. They are selling Chefs for $9.00-$9.50 per 50# sack, also unchanged. Maine shippers are selling 5/10# bags of 2” min Round White potatoes for $9.00-$9.50 per 50# bale, unchanged from last week at this time.