Market Report February 28, 2024

News Category: Market Reports
potato truck

Chip potato markets remain quiet. Movement has been steady. Buyers have plenty of storage potatoes to carry them through the season. There is currently no demand for open potatoes. Ontario and Quebec may be able to use some of the open potatoes, but probably not until June. The Florida chip potato crop is on schedule and in good condition. Temperatures have been cooler this week, with plenty of sunshine. Growers in North Carolina are prepared to plant, but they are waiting to make sure the market is ready for their potatoes when they begin to harvest.     

Growers are hesitant to grow uncontracted potatoes this year, given the current market risk and relatively high production costs. Though prices for some inputs are down, growers may consider acreage cuts due to the lower capital and input requirements for alternative crops. Fertilizer and fuel prices are currently below year-earlier levels. According to the most recent DTN fertilizer survey, U.S. dry fertilizer prices are down for Urea (-23%), DAP (-12%), MAP (-6%), and potash (-27%). Liquid fertilizer prices are also lower, with 10-34-0 (-19%), Anhydrous (-36%), UAN28 (-30%), and UAN32 (-31%) down significantly from a year ago. Nationwide on-highway diesel prices are down $0.24 per gallon, compared to last year. Farm diesel prices are also down, but not as much. Seed potato prices are lower in most areas. Chemical price changes will be mixed, depending on the product. Other operating expenses are expected to increase in 2024. Land rent and equipment costs will likely increase again this year. Relatively high interest rates might decline a little, but probably not before operating loans are secured. Growers across the country are considering the financial, production, and market risks. The country’s overall economic and political conditions also are weighing heavily on grower’s decisions again this year.

U.S. packers shipped 1.569 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending Feb. 24. That is up from 1.452 million cwt shipped a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 64,066 cwt of potatoes during the week ending Feb. 24. That is up from 47,230 cwt shipped during the same week in 2023. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 87.4% russets, 10.5% yellows, 1.4% round white potatoes, and 0.7% reds.

The USDA reports that Michigan packers are selling size A russets in 10-pound bags for $10-$14.75 per 50-pound bale, unchanged from last week. They are selling size A russets in 5-pound bags for $11-$15.75 per 50-pound bale, also unchanged. Wisconsin packers are selling size A russet potatoes in 10-pound bags for mostly $8.50-$9.50 per 50-pound bale, unchanged from last week. They are selling russet 40-70 count cartons for mostly $10-$12 per 50-pound box, also unchanged. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Russet Norkotahs is $13.49 per cwt, down from $13.81 per cwt last week.

Red River Valley packers are selling size A yellow potatoes in 2,000-pound tote bags for mostly $21-$22 per cwt, unchanged from a week ago. They are selling yellow creamers in 50-pound cartons for mostly $30-$32 per 50-pound box, also unchanged. 

– Report by North American Potato Market News