Weekly Potato Report

Michigan Potato Industry Commission
December 17, 2014

USDA puts December 1, 2014 US potato stocks (13 reporting states) at 263.4 million cwt. No comparable data exist for the 2013 crop, but NAPMN estimates those stocks at 256.7 million cwt. December 1, 2012 stocks totaled 271.5 million cwt.

USDA indicates that Michigan growers held 9.4 million cwt of potatoes on December 1. That is slightly less than the 9.5 million cwt held on December 1, 2012. Nevertheless, the stocks number seems high, based on reported uses, and the normal adjustments between harvest and the December 1 stocks report. Based on historical stocks patterns, NAPMN had projected Michigan’s December 1 potato stocks at 8.6 million cwt. Its estimate for December 2013 stocks is 8.8 million cwt.

Florida growers still have not settled all of their 2015-crop contracts. Several chip companies appear to be jockeying for a price advantage on next spring’s contracts. Hastings area growers will start to plant the crop in early January, and should be bringing in seed now, for those potatoes. The uncertainty about contract prices and volumes is making it difficult to do so.

US fresh potato shipments for the week ending December 13, 2014 totaled 2.064 million cwt. That is up from 2.003 million cwt shipped cwt during the same period in 2013. Michigan shipments for the week ending December 13 totaled 58,410 cwt, up from 46,342 cwt during the same week last year. The Michigan shipments were 80.0% Russets, 7.4% Round White varieties, 9.2% Yellow potatoes, and 3.4% Fingerlings.

Michigan shippers are selling Size A Russets for $1.50-$1.80 per 10# bag, up from $1.50-$1.75 a week ago. Wisconsin packers are selling baled 10# bags of size A Russets for mostly $6.25-$6.75 per bale, unchanged from last week. They are selling 40-70 count cartons for mostly $9.00-10.00 per 50# box, also unchanged for the week. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Norkotahs is $14.34 per cwt, down from $14.36 a week ago.

Michigan shippers are selling Size A Round White potatoes for $1.50-$1.80 per 10# bag, down from $1.50-$1.95 at this time last week. Maine packers are selling baled 10/5# bags of 2” minimum Round White potatoes for mostly $7.00-$9.00 per bale, down from $8.00-$9.00 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 for the week. Long Island Chefs are selling for $6.50-$7.00 per 50# bag, up from $6.00-$7.00 at this time 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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Committee Assignment
Register for the Winter Potato Conference