Chip potato movement is steady but may not be matching last year’s torrid pace. Storage inventories are expected to last well into June. Chip companies will be less reliant on potatoes from Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and Missouri this year. Contract volumes have been adjusted accordingly, but supplies may be tilting toward surplus. The balance is such that adverse weather in any of the key growing areas could tip supplies back towards a shortage. On the other hand, this year’s rapid planting progress in northern growing areas could presage record yields, an early harvest, and the challenges inherent in dealing with a surplus of potatoes during the direct-delivery season. The first potatoes in southwest Michigan already are emerging.
Canada indicates that it had 38.04 million cwt of potatoes in storage on April 1. That is 2.15 million cwt less than the country held a year ago, a 5.4% decline. The stocks included 2.49 million cwt of potatoes in Ontario, a 516,000 cwt increase from last year. Ontario’s April 1 stocks are the largest for the province since 1997. They include a record 1.90 million cwt of chip potatoes, up 26.8% relative to last year’s April 1 inventory. This year’s chip stocks would last through July 10 at March’s record usage pace. That suggests that Canadian demand for early chip potato imports is likely to be negligible this year.
US packers shipped 1.692 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending April 10, 2021. That is up from 1.672 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 51,943 cwt of potatoes during the week ending April 10, 2021. That is down from 69,900 cwt during the same week in 2020. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 65.3% Russets, 19.9% Yellow varieties, and 14.7% Round White potatoes.
Michigan packers are selling size A Russets in 10# bags for $12.00-$12.50 per 50# bale, down from $12.50 per bale a week ago. Wisconsin packers are selling size A Russet potatoes in 10# bags for mostly $9.00 per 50# bale, unchanged for the week. They are selling 40-70 count Russet count cartons for mostly $13.00-$14.00 per 50# box, unchanged for the week. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Russet Norkotahs is $12.65 per cwt, down from $13.19 per cwt last week.
In the Red River Valley size-A Yellow potatoes are selling for $26.00-$29.00 per cwt in 2000# totes, unchanged from last week. Florida new-crop size A Yellow potatoes are selling for mostly $22.70-$23.25 per 50# carton, up from $20.70-$23.25 at this time last week.
USDA has discontinued reporting prices for Maine Round White potatoes as the season is winding to a close. Florida packers are selling 50# cartons of size A Round White new-crop potatoes for $22.70-$25.25 per box, up from $22.70-$23.25 per box a week ago.