Weekly Potato Report
Michigan Potato Industry Commission
December 6, 2013
Chip plants continue to run almost exclusively on contract potatoes. Movement is steady, but some growers and dealers are concerned that potatoes are not cleaning up as quickly as they would like. Indications are that demand for potato chips is strong, but that the strong recovery rates resulting from this year's high solids are slowing movement. Chipstock supplies are plentiful. We have not picked up any recent reports of open market sales.
Northeastern chip plants are dragging their feet on signing Florida contract. Contract prices are down $0.25-$0.50 per cwt, with some pressure to drop prices by $1.00 per cwt. Contract volumes could be down by 10% or more, in the Hastings District. Growers need to start land preparations soon, but they are waiting until contracts are settled before putting any money into growing potatoes. We are picking up some concern that if contract volumes and prices are cut too much, some Florida growers may drop completely out of the potato business.
For the week ending November 30, US fresh potato shipments totaled 1.383 million cwt. That is down from 1.864 million cwt during the same period in 2012 (It also is down from last year's Thanksgiving week shipments, which totaled 1.648 million cwt). During the week ended November 30, Michigan fresh potato shipments totaled 53,700 cwt. That is up from 42,300 cwt a year earlier. This year's Michigan shipments were 83.8% Russets and 16.2% Round White potatoes.
Michigan dealers are selling Russet table potatoes in a wide range, between $1.75-$2.35 per 10# bag, unchanged from last week at this time. Wisconsin shippers are selling baled 10# Russets for mostly $8.00 per 50# bale, unchanged for the week. Wisconsin 40-70 count cartons are selling for mostly $11.00-$12.00 per 50# box, down from $11.00-$13.00 at this time last week. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Norkotahs slipped to $13.99 per cwt, from $14.19 a week ago.
Michigan shippers are selling Round White potatoes in a wide range, from $1.70-$2.20 per 10# bag, unchanged for the week. Long Island packers are selling size A Round White potatoes for mostly $8.50-$9.00 per 50# bag, unchanged from last week at this time. Long Island chefs are selling for mostly $9.50-$10.00 per 50# bag, also unchanged for the week. Maine packers are selling 5# bags of 2 inch minimum Round White potatoes for $9.00-$9.50 per 50# bale, unchanged for the week.
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