Potato chip demand is good for this time of the year. Buyers have been buying open potatoes at contract price. They have shown more interest in cleaning up any open potatoes following last week’s Texas freeze. Reports indicate that potatoes in the Rio Grande Valley may have been advanced enough that it will be difficult for them to recover. The freeze set back crop development in Pearsall, but the potatoes should be able to recover. Indications are that the frost did not penetrate deep enough to damage seed pieces. While the Rio Grande Valley crop is a minor portion of the US chip potato supply, the freeze has caught buyers’ attention. Chip potato supplies are now in a tight balance. Another cold weather event in the central or eastern United States could tip the industry into a tight supply situation.
US packers shipped 1.673 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending February 20, 2021. That is up from 1.517 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 65,866 cwt of potatoes during the week ending February 20, 2021. That is up from 59,306 cwt during the same week in 2020. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 82.9% Russets, 6.5% Yellow varieties, and 10.6% Round White 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 $12.50 per cwt, down from $12.69 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.