Chip plants continue to run almost exclusively on contract potatoes. There is very little open-market activity, though some potatoes may be trading between growers with overages, and those who have come up short. The chip industry is counting on running potatoes much longer than last year. Reports indicate that Florida growers are turning back a lot of seed, due to cuts in contract volumes.
The Potato Industry is gathered together in Orlando, Florida this week for the 2018 Potato Market Expo and the 2018 Potato Market Business summit, along with other potato meetings. Discussions are focusing on agricultural efficiencies. Jesse Ausubel, from Rockefeller University suggested that global agricultural cropland has reached a peak, because productivity gains are outstripping the growth in population. Other presenters focused on ways to reduce costs and increase production.
US fresh potato shipments for the week ending January 6, 2018 totaled 1.466 million cwt. That is down from 1.724 million cwt shipped cwt during the same period, in 2017. Michigan packers shipped 61,570 cwt of fresh potatoes during the week ending January 6. That is down from 64,550 cwt a year earlier. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 80.0% Russet potatoes, 13.3% Yellow potatoes, 5.5% Round White varieties, 0.8% fingerlings and 0.3% Red varieties.
Michigan packers are selling 10# bags of Size A Russet potatoes for mostly $1.70-$1.80 per bag, up from $1.60-$1.80 per bag last week. Wisconsin packers are selling 5/10# Russet potatoes for mostly $7.00-$7.50 per 50# bale, unchanged from last week at this time. Wisconsin 50-70 count cartons are selling for mostly $12.50-$13.50 per box, unchanged for the week. The weighted average price for Idaho Norkotahs is $16.70 per cwt, unchanged from the previous week.
Michigan packers are selling 10/5# bags of Round White potatoes for mostly $10.00-$11.00 per 50# bale, up from $9.00-$11.00 per bale a week ago. Maine shippers are selling 5/10# bags of 2” min Round White potatoes for $9.00-$9.50 per 50# bale, unchanged from last week at this time.