Weekly Potato Report
Michigan Potato Industry Commission
March 4, 2015
Cold weather continues to present challenges to the chip industry. Business remains slow. Industry observers believe that volume will pick up during March, as is normally the case, but that will require warmer temperatures. Dealers are complaining about the quality of potatoes being delivered from storage. They are hoping that growers are cleaning up suspect lots, and that quality will improve as growers switch to potatoes that have been held for late in the season. While growers can be expected to ship their worst potatoes first, in order to stay ahead of quality issues, there are concerns that the quality of the 2014 potato crop has been an issue throughout the season, and that the challenges are likely to continue through the transition to the 2015 crop.
The central Florida crop appears to be in exceptionally good condition. Crops further north, in Florida, appear to be developing normally. However, North Carolina growers have been unable to plant any potatoes, due to extremely wet fields. Industry observers have mixed ideas about the situation. Some think that crops already are behind, as a result of the delays, while others indicate that the delays are not serious, as long as growers can get started planting by sometime next week. Missouri growers may be facing similar challenges. The weather has been cold, and the growing area has received close to two inches of rain since the beginning of March, with more in the forecast for today, along with up to 10 inches of snow.
US fresh potato shipments for the week ending February 28, 2015 totaled 1.938 million cwt. That is up from 1.908 million cwt shipped cwt during the same period, in 2014. Michigan shipments for the week ending February 28 totaled 57,555 cwt, up from 31,640 cwt during the same week last year. The Michigan shipments were 66.3% Russets, 27.5% Round White varieties, and 6.2% Yellow potatoes.
Michigan shippers are selling Size A Russets for $1.60-$1.80 per 10# bag, unchanged from a week ago. Wisconsin packers are selling baled 10# bags of size A Russets for mostly $5.75-$6.50 per bale, unchanged from last week at this time. They are selling 40-70 count cartons for mostly $12.00 per 50# box, unchanged for the week. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Norkotahs is $12.34 per cwt, up from $12.25 per cwt a week ago.
Michigan shippers are selling Size A Round White potatoes for $1.60-$1.80 per 10# bag, unchanged from this time last week. Maine packers are selling baled 10/5# bags of 2” minimum Round White potatoes for mostly $8.00-$9.00 per bale, unchanged for the week. New-crop Florida Size A Round White are selling for $22.50-$22.75 per 50# sack, down from $$25.50-$25.75 a week ago.
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