Weekly Potato Report
Michigan Potato Industry Commission
August 26, 2015
Chip potato markets remain quiet. Some dealers complain that orders are not keeping up with supplies. Early growing areas reported low solids, which boosted demand for raw product. Potatoes now being harvested have extremely high solids, which is dampening movement. That may cause supplies grown on field delivery contracts to back up. That may push more potatoes into storage.
While the high solids are reducing current demand for chip potatoes, there is concern that they could create problems for potatoes in storage. High solids often are associated with pressure bruising later in the season. While refrigeration and humidity systems can reduce the problem, the high solids could result in appearance issues late in the storage season, particularly in April and May. Current solids are mostly in the 1.095-1.105 range. Potatoes with 1.085 gravity, or lower tend to do best in long term storage.
There is lots of discussion about Dickeya, a disease that has been found in some Maine potato seed lots. There are many rumors, but facts appear to be in short supply. While the issue is getting a lot of attention in the chip potato industry, a Maine document identifies four varieties, Reba, Superior, Norwis and Beacon Chipper as having serious problems in the 2015 crop. None of those varieties are used extensively for potato chips. Maine is the only state with an identified seed problem, but that may be because other growing areas are not looking for Dickeya at this time. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the disease, and how to keep it under control.
US fresh potato shipments for the week ending August 22, 2015 totaled 1.613 million cwt. That is down from 1.913 million cwt shipped cwt during the same period, in 2014. Michigan shipments for the week ending August 22, totaled 3,200 cwt, down from 4,500 cwt during the same week in 2014. The Michigan shipments were all Round White potatoes, but Russet shipments are getting under way this week.
Wisconsin packers are selling Size A Russets in 10# film for mostly $6.00-$6.50 per 50# bale, down from $6.50-$7.00 per bale a week ago. They are selling 40-70 count cartons for $14.00 per 50# box, unchanged from last week at this time. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Norkotahs is $13.84 per cwt, down from $13.87 per cwt a week ago.
Delaware packers are selling Size A Round White potatoes for mostly $6.75 per 50# sack, up from $6.50-$6.75 a week ago. Delaware chefs are selling for $8.75 per 50# bag.
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