Weekly Potato Report

Michigan Potato Industry Commission
January 27, 2016

Chip potato markets are extremely quiet. Chip companies are supplying plants almost exclusively with contract potatoes, though there is an occasional open market sale. Plants are running their contract volumes close to the intended pace, but growers are hoping for the pace to pick up. Last weekend’s storm bumped up chip sales. The industry is hoping for another bump in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, but that should be considered “normal” business, as it happens each year.

Reports indicate that chip potato contract prices for 2016 are down $0.25 per cwt in Florida and North Carolina, though some companies are holding out for additional price concessions. Florida contract volume is down from last year, but the impact on acreage is uncertain. Growers are still planting. Last year, growers chose to plant open potatoes to make up for some of the contract volume reductions. In the end, they were able to move the open potatoes, so they might gamble on that happening again this year.

Canada has released revised production data for 2015. Canadian growers produced 105.4 million cwt of potatoes this year. That exceeds the 2014 crop by 4.7 million cwt. It exceeds the November estimate by 550,000 cwt. Virtually all of the adjustment was in Quebec’s potato crop, which exceeds the November estimate by 552,000 cwt. The remainder appears to be rounding differences and/or changes in the size of the Newfoundland crop. Stocks data are supposed to be gathered independent of the production data, so we are not expecting any adjustment to Canadian stocks data, at this time.

US fresh potato shipments for the week ending January 23, 2016 totaled 1.951 million cwt. That is down from 1.973 million cwt shipped cwt during the same period, in 2015. Michigan shipments for the week ending January 23, totaled 70,450 cwt, up from 53,200 cwt during the same week in 2015. The Michigan shipments were 62.7% Russets, 26.0% Round White potatoes, 10.4% Yellow varieties, 0.6% Red potatoes, and 0.4% fingerlings.

Michigan size A Russets are selling for $1.60-$1.95 per 10 lb bag, unchanged from this time last week. 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 $9.50-$10.00 per 50# box, up from $9.00-$10.00 a week ago. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Norkotahs is $13.83 per cwt, down from $13.89 per cwt a week ago.

Michigan size A Round White potatoes are selling for mostly $1.60-$1.70 per 10# bag, unchanged from a week ago. Maine 2-inch minimum Round White potatoes are selling for mostly $6.50-$7.50 per 10/5# bale, unchanged for the week. Long Island shippers are selling baled 5# Size A Round White potatoes for $7.00-$7.50 per 50# bale, also unchanged from last week.

This Weekly Potato Report includes current Michigan grower issues, in depth market news, and other time sensitive information. This report contains market sensitive information and your candor in using this information is appreciated.  Your comments and suggestions are vital to improving this report and other services.

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