Weekly Potato Report

Michigan Potato Industry Commission
May 4, 2016

Cool weather may be slowing planting progress somewhat, but it makes it easier to hold the remaining storage potatoes. While movement appears to have picked up in recent week, reports suggest that some Michigan growers could be shipping storage potatoes until the end of June.

            The chip potato harvest is underway in Hastings. Though they have been digging potatoes for less than a week, growers already are worried about cleaning up this year’s crop Yields and quality are excellent. Reports indicate that some open potatoes are being offered at $6.00 per cwt, but no one is sure if there are any takers. Chip plants can get open storage potatoes for $6.00 per cwt, or less, and freight costs from storage areas are much cheaper than they are from Florida. The quality of storage potatoes currently being delivered is excellent.

            The battle between storage potatoes and new-crop potatoes could intensify in the coming weeks. Price will only be one of several factors in the equation. Plants will have to weigh quality issues. In addition, logistics issues (truck availability) will be a major determinant of how many open potatoes Florida growers will be able to sell.

            US fresh potato shipments for the week ending April 30, 2016 totaled 1.705 million cwt. That is down from 1.751 million cwt shipped cwt during the same period, in 2015. Michigan shipments for the week ending April 30, 2016 totaled 47,400 cwt, up from 31,300 cwt during the same week in 2015. The Michigan shipments were 69.2% Russets, 10.5% Round White potatoes, and 20.3% Yellow varieties.

            Michigan size A Russets are selling for $1.60-$1.90 per 10 lb bag, unchanged from last week at this time. Wisconsin packers are selling Size A Russets in 10# film bags for mostly $6.00 per 50# bale, unchanged for the week. They are selling 40-70 count cartons for mostly $12.50-$13.00 per 50# box, up from $10.50-$11.00 at this time last week. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Russet Burbanks is $13.09 per cwt, up from $12.89 last week at this time.

            Maine 2-inch minimum Round White potatoes are selling for mostly $6.50-$7.50 per 10/5# bale, unchanged for the week. Florida size A Round White potatoes are selling for mostly $20.25 per 50# box, down from $20.25-$24.00 a week ago. Florida potatoes are becoming more plentiful as the Hastings harvest gears up.

New Season of Potato Research Gets Started