Chip manufacturers continue to pull potatoes from storage at a rapid pace. Most storage potatoes should be cleaned up by the end of May, but it could be the middle of June before the last potatoes are gone. Dealers report that Florida has good quality chip potatoes, but it is difficult to find trucks to move those potatoes to northern plants. Buyers also are concerned that wet weather and heat could result in deterioration of Florida’s remaining potatoes.
Wet weather continues to slow planting progress in Michigan. Planting also has been slow getting under way in other growing areas, though much of Canada and the eastern US is hopeful that they can wrap up planting by the end of May. Most observers believe that chip potato acreage for the 2018 crop will be close to 2017 levels. Chip companies are expected to pay close to the same price for delivered potatoes as they did for the 2017 crop. Translated, that means that they have managed to negotiate contracts that have forced growers to absorb this year’s increased freight costs.
US fresh potato shipments for the week ending May 12, 2018 totaled 1.617 million cwt. That is down from 1.777 million cwt shipped cwt during the same period, in 2017. Michigan packers shipped 49,150 cwt of fresh potatoes during the week ending May 12. That is up from 40,800 cwt a year earlier. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 63.4% Russet potatoes, 23.8% Round White potatoes and 12.8% Yellow varieties.
Michigan packers are selling 10# bags of Size A Russet potatoes for $1.70-$2.00 per bag, unchanged for the week. Wisconsin packers are selling 5/10# Russet potatoes for mostly $8.75-$9.25 per 50# bale, also unchanged for the week. Wisconsin 50-70 count cartons are selling for mostly $15.00-$16.00 per box, unchanged for the week. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Russet Burbanks is $15.74 per cwt. That is unchanged from this time last week.
Florida growers are selling 50# cartons of Round White potatoes for mostly $22.50-$24.00 per box, unchanged from last week at the same time.