The chip potato market is extremely quiet. Most chip manufacturers have more field delivery potatoes under contract than they can use. Growers are concerned about handling the extra supplies. In recent years, Michigan growers have been able to continue shipping potatoes off of the field through most of October, though there is no guarantee that that is a possibility this year. It may be possible to refill storages once shipments on storage contracts begin, but storage capacity may be a concern this year.
High temperatures have limited harvest activity in Michigan, as well as in eastern Canada and Maine over the past seven to ten days. Growers have had to curtail harvest by noon, or earlier, due to high pulp temperatures. The heat raises concerns for storage potatoes that may have been too warm when they went in, or where nighttime lows have not been cool enough to keep storage temperatures within acceptable limits.
September heat and dry weather appears to have taken a toll on potato crops in eastern Canada. Growers in PEI and New Brunswick were counting on September rainfall for a strong finish on bulking. On PEI, the first significant rains are coming today, which is too late for most of the crop. Parts of New Brunswick did get rain from Hurricane Harvey between September 5-10. Crops are good where the rains came, but yields are uneven. Ontario will have a much larger crop than it produced last year. The biggest concern for the Ontario crop is storability, due to heat during harvest and wet growing conditions for parts of the province.
US fresh potato shipments for the week ending September 23, 2017 totaled 1.902 million cwt. That is down from 1.977 million cwt shipped cwt during the same period, in 2016. Michigan packers shipped 30,730 cwt of fresh potatoes during the week ending September 23. That is down from 43,200 cwt a year earlier. This week’s Michigan shipments were 86.0% Russets, 6.5% Round White potatoes, and 7.5% Red potatoes.
Wisconsin packers are selling 5/10# Russet potatoes for mostly $6.75-$7.00 per 50# bale, unchanged from last week. Wisconsin 40-70 count cartons are selling for $12.00-$13.00 per box, down from $14.00-$16.00 per box a week ago. The weighted average price for Idaho Norkotahs is $15.46 per cwt, down from $16.31 per cwt a week ago.
Long Island packers are selling Size A Round White potatoes for $8.50-9.00 per 50# sack, unchanged for the week. They report a few sales of Chefs for $10.75-$11.00 per 50# sack, also unchanged. Delaware packers are selling Size A Round White potatoes for $8.75-$9.25 per 50# sack, unchanged from this time last week.