Chip markets are quiet. Companies are running almost exclusively on contract potatoes. Buyers appear to be convinced that they have plenty of potatoes to carry them through the storage season without any issues. Crops are being planted in central Florida. Planting is approaching the 75% mark, with the first potatoes likely to emerge next week. Contract volumes and prices are similar to last year. North Florida growers are concerned that they are not seeing much rebound in contract volumes for the 2021 potato crop.
The chip potato seed supply for the 2021 potato crop is complex. The US certified seed area for major chip potato varieties (other than Frito Lay varieties) actually increased by 778 acres, to 12,084 acres in 2020. However, 23% of that area is in Maine, where yields were down at least 20%, and in some cases as much as 40%. Furthermore, most of this year’s acreage increase is in varieties such as Lady Liberty, Waneta, and Dakota Pearl, which may not have been proven for use in some critical growing areas. Growers should be able to find enough seed to plant their 2021 crop, but seed for their preferred varieties may not be available.
US packers shipped 1.185 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending December 26, 2020. That is up from 1.082 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 43,665 cwt of potatoes during the week ending December 26, 2020. That is up from 34,200 cwt during the same week in 2019. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 84.5% Russets, 8.2% Round White potatoes, and 7.2% Yellow varieties.
Michigan packers are selling size A Russets in 10# bags for mostly $12.00-$12.50 per 50# bale, unchanged from a week ago. Wisconsin packers are selling size A Russet potatoes in 10# bags for mostly $9.00-$9.50 per 50# bale, unchanged for the week. They are selling 40-70 count Russet count cartons for $13.00-$14.00 per 50# box, also unchanged for the week. The weighted average shipping point price for new-crop Idaho Russet Norkotahs is $13.73 per cwt, unchanged from last week.
In the Red River Valley size A Yellow potatoes are selling for mostly $24.00-$25.00 per cwt in 2000# totes, unchanged from last week.
Maine packers are selling 2 inch minimum Round White 10/5# film bags for $11.00-$11.50 per 50# bale, unchanged from a week ago.