Market Report February 1, 2023

News Category: Market Reports
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Current market signals indicate a greater than 75% probability that U.S. growers will plant more potatoes in 2023 than they planted in 2022. Current open market prices for table potatoes are exceptionally strong. However, prices for competing crops also are stronger than they ever have been.

Fryers and dehydrators have been aggressively purchasing open market potatoes from across the country to keep plants running and to meet the needs of their key customers. The chip potato market appears to be more balanced than the frozen processing and dehy sectors. Storage chip potato contract volumes have been relatively flat. For the past several years, chip potato buyers have been cutting back on early chip potato contract volumes as they rely more on storage chip potatoes.

Growers are hesitant to grow uncontracted potatoes, given the sky-high production costs. Though prices for some inputs could come down this year, overall production costs are expected to remain high for the 2023 crop. As a result, growers may consider acreage cuts, especially given the strong prices and lower input requirements for alternative crops. Though fertilizer and fuel prices are currently lower than they were a year ago, other operating expenses are expected to increase in 2023. Land rental and interest rates will increase again this year. Growers are considering the financial, production, and market risks. The country’s overall economic and political conditions also are weighing heavily on grower’s decisions this year.

US packers shipped 1.482 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending January 28, 2023. That is down from 1.729 million cwt shipped a year earlier. Michigan’s reported shipments totaled 55,800 cwt of potatoes during the week ending January 28. That is down from 72,100 cwt during the same week in 2022. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 87.5% russets, 8.1% yellow potatoes, and 2.4% round white potatoes, and 2.0% red potatoes.

USDA reports that Michigan packers are selling size A Russets in 10-pound bags for $16-$17 per 50-pound bale, unchanged from last week. Wisconsin packers are selling size A russet potatoes in 10-pound bags for mostly $14-$15 per 50-pound bale, unchanged from a week ago. They are selling Russet 40-70 count cartons for mostly $26-$32 per 50-pound box, also unchanged. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Russet Norkotahs is $35.96 per cwt. That is down from $36.22 per cwt a week ago.

Wisconsin packers are selling 10/5# bales of size A yellow potatoes for mostly $23-$26 per bale, unchanged from a week ago. They are selling 50-pound cartons of size A yellow potatoes for mostly $23-$26 per 50-pound box, unchanged from last week. Red River Valley packers are selling size A yellow potatoes in 2000# tote bags for mostly $25.00-$26.00 per cwt, unchanged from a week ago. They are selling yellow creamers in 50# sacks for mostly $30-$32, also unchanged.   

– Report by North American Potato Market News