Michigan’s planting season is wrapping up. Wet weather has resulted in spotty stands, in some fields. However, the southwest Michigan chip crop should be ready to harvest by the end of July. Chip companies are likely to be anxious to start the harvest, due to the difficulty that they are having getting trucks in other growing areas. In addition, supplies of early new-crop potatoes may be falling short of earlier expectations.
Florida will be shipping chip potatoes for at least another week, if not longer. However, continuing wet weather is adding to the challenges for the Florida crop. North Carolina growers have been digging chip potatoes for the past week. Volumes are likely to pick up more, as the week progresses. However, reports suggest that size and yields have been disappointing on the early harvest. Missouri growers held back a week on the start of their harvest. The calendar dictates that they must start harvest this weekend, though growers would like to hold back more, to allow the crop to size up.
Canada reports that it had 19.32 million cwt of potatoes in storage on June 1. That exceeds year-earlier stocks by 575,000 cwt. All of the extra potatoes are located in Alberta and Ontario. Stocks fell short of 2017 levels in all other provinces. Ontario held 868,000 cwt of potatoes on June 1. That exceeded 2017 holdings by 410,000 cwt, an 89.5% increase. Ontario’s stocks included a record 714,000 cwt of chip potatoes. However, at the May usage rate, those stocks would be cleaned up by July 14. Quebec’s May chip potato disappearance also was strong. That province’s chip potato stocks are on course to be depleted by July 4. That opens a path for Canadian imports of chip potatoes from North Carolina and Virginia, this year. However, those imports will fall well short of 2017 import levels.
US fresh potato shipments for the week ending June 9, 2018 totaled 1.826 million cwt. That is down from 1.896 million cwt during the same period, in 2017. Michigan packers shipped 34,360 cwt of fresh potatoes during the week ending June 9. That is down from 46,175 cwt a year earlier. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 79.6% Russet potatoes, 13.1% Round White potatoes and 7.3% Yellow varieties.
USDA has stopped reporting Michigan prices for the 2017 crop, as the shipping season is winding down. Wisconsin packers are selling 5/10# Russet potatoes for mostly $9.50-$10.00 per 50# bale, unchanged from last week.. Wisconsin 50-70 count cartons are selling for mostly $17.50-$18.50 per box, also unchanged for the week. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Russet Burbanks is $15.96 per cwt. That is up from $15.93 per cwt at this time last week.
USDA has discontinued reporting Florida Round White potato prices for the 2018 crop, as the Florida season winds down. North Carolina growers do not expect to be shipping table potatoes until the middle of next week.