Weekly Potato Report
Michigan Potato Industry Commission
November 12, 2014
USDA puts 2014 fall potato production at 406.2 million cwt. That exceeds 2013 production by 10.9 million cwt, a 2.8% increase. The production increase came in spite of a 4,300 acre decline in this year’s harvested acreage, to 926,200 acres. This year’s average yield was 439 cwt per acre, which surpassed a record which has stood since 2009 (429 cwt per acre). While the yield is up 14 cwt from the 2013 yield, it is very close to a 20-year trend yield. One unusual aspect of this year’s November crop estimate is that USDA made massive downward adjustments to acreage estimates for Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin. On the other hand, acreage estimates for several smaller growing areas, including Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Mexico were revised upward.
USDA estimates that Michigan growers produced 15.725 million cwt of potatoes this year, 115,000 cwt less than they did in 2013. The state’s average yield increased to 370 cwt per acre from 360 cwt in 2013, but the harvested area declined by 1,500 acre acres to 42,500 acres. Local sources question whether that acreage decrease actually took place. They don’t quarrel with the yield, but point out that production must be up from last year. Usage data tend to confirm that that conclusion. Since the beginning of the season Michigan’s table potato shipments are up more than 90% from last year, and chip potato movement is up 2.6%. In spite of the increased movement, growers found it challenging to find enough storage for all of their potatoes.
The chip potato market is quite. Finding trucks to move the potatoes is a challenge. Trucks are easier to find in Michigan than in some of the other growing areas. That has shifted extra orders to Michigan, to fill in for missed loads from other origins.
US fresh potato shipments for the week ending November 8, 2014 totaled 2.181 million cwt. That is up from 2.125 million cwt shipped cwt during the same period in 2013. Michigan shipments for the week ending November 8 totaled 47,740 cwt, down from 50,556 cwt during the same week last year. The Michigan shipments were 83.2% Russets, and 16.8% 13.8% Round White varieties.
Michigan shippers are selling Size A Russets for $1.50-$1.95 per 10# bag, unchanged from this time last week. Wisconsin packers are selling baled 10# bags of size A Russets for mostly $6.00-$6.50 per bale, up from $6.00 a week ago. They are selling 40-70 count cartons for mostly $8.50-9.50 per 50# box, up from $8.50-$9.00 per box at this time last week. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Norkotahs is $13.03 per cwt, up from $12.26 at this time last week.
Michigan shippers are selling Size A Round White potatoes for $1.50-$1.95 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, down from $8.00-$9.50 a week ago. Long Island shippers are selling 50# sacks of size A Round White potatoes for mostly $6.50-$7.00 per bag, unchanged from this time last week. Long Island Chefs are selling for $6.50-$7.50 per 50# bag, also unchanged for the week.
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