The chip potato market is quiet. Plants are running almost exclusively on contract potatoes. Movement is falling short of last year’s pace, which was elevated by pandemic-driven demand. Nevertheless, dealers expect chip companies to clean up all of the remaining storage potatoes.
A cold wave moving across the Midwest is creating some concern for early potato crops in Missouri, southern Indiana, and Ohio. Early potatoes are up 8-10 inches. Frost is possible tonight. Last night, temperatures dropped as low as 28º F in SW Michigan. That could set back the earliest fields but is unlikely to cause any permanent damage. Potatoes affected went in the ground about a week early, so the crop still should be available for harvest on time.
US April 1 potato stocks totaled 132.5 million cwt. That exceeded the year-earlier inventory by 7.1 million cwt, or 5.7%. USDA puts Michigan’s April 1 potato stocks at 3.3 million cwt, down from 3.9 million cwt in 2020. That number does not fit well with the narrative indicating that Michigan is likely to have chip potatoes through much of June, this year.
US packers shipped 1.695 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending April 17, 2021. That is up from 1.503 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 40,475 cwt of potatoes during the week ending April 17, 2021. That is down from 62,530 cwt during the same week in 2020. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 53.3% Russets, 30.0% Yellow varieties, and 16.7% Round White potatoes.
Michigan packers are selling size A Russets in 10# bags for $12.00-$12.50 per 50# bale, unchanged from last week. Wisconsin packers are selling size A Russet potatoes in 10# bags for mostly $8.00-$9.00 per 50# bale, down from $9.00 per bale at this time last 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 $12.72 per cwt, up from $12.65 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 $21.25-$22.70 per 50# carton, down from $22.70-$23.25 a week ago.
Florida packers are selling 50# cartons of size A Round White new-crop potatoes for $22.70-$25.25 per box, unchanged for the week.