This week’s cold weather has potato chip companies on edge. Temperatures dropped into the low 20º F range in the lower Rio Grande Valley, where potatoes probably were up 8 inches or more. The bigger concern is for Pearsall. Some potatoes may have emerged, but the bigger concern is for seed piece integrity. Temperatures remained below freezing continuously for four days, dropping into the lower teens at time. Snow cover may have provided some protection, but seed pieces are likely to be compromised. Florida has escaped the cold weather, but heavy rainfall might be an issue for north Florida chip crops. It is too early to gauge the actual impact of the cold weather on potato supplies, but buyers are showing interest in tying up any open storage chip potatoes that they can find. That is a major change from last week, when markets were dead.
US packers shipped 1.669 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending February 13, 2021. That is up from 1.552 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 59,406 cwt of potatoes during the week ending February 13, 2021. That is down from 65,750 cwt during the same week in 2020. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 75.8% Russets, 14.4% Yellow varieties, 9.1% Round White potatoes, and 0.8% Red potatoes.
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 Idaho Russet Norkotahs is $12.69 per cwt, down from $13.09 per cwt last week.
In the Red River Valley size-A Yellow potatoes are selling for mostly $26.00-$27.00 per cwt in 2000# totes, unchanged for the 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.