The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that growers in the storage states held 192.4 million cwt of potatoes on February 1. That is 6.2 million cwt less than those same states had in storage a year ago, a 3.1% decline. It is the lowest February 1 inventory since the 2013 crop. Five of the 12 reporting states had fewer potatoes in storage on February 1 than they had a year ago. February 1 stocks matched the year-earlier inventory in two states. At 60.6 million cwt, U.S. December-January potato disappearance fell 5.4 million cwt short of the 2021/22 pace, an 8.2% decline.
The USDA puts Michigan’s February 1 potato stocks at 7.2 million cwt. That is 700,000 cwt less than the state held a year earlier, an 8.9% decline. USDA trimmed its estimate of the state’s December 1 potato stocks by 100,000 cwt. At 3.3 million cwt, December-January disappearance fell 700,000 cwt short of year-earlier movement, a 17.5% decline. Chip potato usage dropped by 176,000 cwt, or 7.1%, relative to last year. Table potato movement fell 147,000 cwt below year-earlier shipments, a 23.8% decline.
The chip potato business is quiet. Supplies appear to be balanced with demand. Most contracts for the 2023 crop have been settled, with price increases in the high teens. Planting in the Southeast growing regions is a week or two ahead of usual.
U.S. packers shipped 1.575 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending February 18. That is down from 1.692 million cwt shipped a year earlier. Michigan’s reported shipments totaled 64,000 cwt of potatoes during the week ending February 18. That is down from 82,800 cwt during the same week in 2022. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 84.9% russets, 8.4% round white potatoes, and 6.7% yellow potatoes.
The 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 $35.69 per cwt. That is unchanged from a week ago.
Red River Valley packers are selling size A yellow potatoes in 2,000-pound tote bags for mostly $27-$28 per cwt, unchanged from a week ago. They are selling yellow creamers in 50-pound sacks for mostly $30, also unchanged. Florida packers are selling 50-pound cartons of size A Yellow new-crop potatoes for $25.95-$30.25 per box, unchanged from last week. They are selling yellow creamers in 50-pound cartons for $45.25-$46.00 per box.
– Report by North American Potato Market News