Chip potato markets are extremely quiet. Chip plants are running almost exclusively on contract potatoes. Contracting is underway in North Carolina. The contract volume appears to be similar to 2020 levels. Chip companies seem satisfied that they will have plenty of storage potatoes to last through the season. Growers are still scrambling for seed. In the end, supplies should be sufficient for their needs, though they may have to settle for varieties with which they have little experience, especially if they are used to growing Atlantics.
Canada is reporting that it had 64.17 million cwt of potatoes in storage on January 1. That is down 4.61 million cwt from the year-earlier inventory, a 6.7% decline. The downturn is concentrated in the Maritime Provinces, where inventories are 20.7% below 2020 holdings. Ontario had 4.472 million cwt of potatoes left in storage on January 1, up 11.4% from last year. The Ontario stocks included 3.182 million cwt of chip potatoes, which is up 345,000 cwt, or 10.8% from year-earlier stocks. Chip potato stocks also appear to be up from last year in Quebec, though precise data on that inventory has not yet been released. The increases in Ontario and Quebec should mitigate losses of chip potatoes in the Maritime Provinces.
US packers shipped 1.590 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending January 9, 2021. That is down from 1.801 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 59,574 cwt of potatoes during the week ending January 9, 2021. That is up from 58,740 cwt during the same week in 2020. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 81.1% Russets, 12.1% Round White potatoes, and 6.8% Yellow varieties.
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 new-crop Idaho Russet Norkotahs is $13.22 per cwt, down from $13.43 per cwt a week ago.
In the Red River Valley size A Yellow potatoes are selling for mostly $25.00-$26.00 per cwt in 2000# totes, up from $24.00-$26.00 per cwt a week ago.
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.