Wet fields in North Carolina are creating logistical issues for the chip potato industry. Potatoes shipped from North Carolina have low solids due to the heavy rains. In addition, they tend to break down during transit. Chip companies can get potatoes from Missouri and Florida, but the Florida harvest is winding down. Storage potatoes tend to have less quality problems than current new-crop supplies. Michigan will be shipping storage potatoes at least through the week of July 4.
USDA reports that grower in the eleven storage states held 65.3 million cwt of potatoes on June 1. That is 7.3 million cwt more than they held a year earlier, a 12.6% increase. However, the stocks data appear to have several inconsistencies. Most notable is that Wisconsin’s April-May disappearance, 2.7 million cwt, was less than combined shipments of chip and table potatoes from the state. That left no room for disappearance for either processing or seed potatoes, and nothing for shrinkage. It left the state with a record 14.9 million cwt of potatoes in storage on June 1, though there is no market evidence that Wisconsin is sitting on a large surplus of potatoes.
USDA indicates that Michigan growers held 400,000 cwt of potatoes on June 1. That is down from a 500,000 cwt inventory on June 1, 2020. That may understate the inventory slightly, as chip potato inventories are expected to last longer than they did a year ago.
US packers shipped 1.506 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending June 19, 2021. That is down from 1.677 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 27,500 cwt of potatoes during the week ending June 19, 2021. That is down from 37,300 cwt during the same week in 2020. Last week’s Michigan shipments were all Russet potatoes.
Wisconsin packers are selling size A Russet potatoes in 10# bags for mostly $8.00-$8.50 per 50# bale, unchanged from last week. They are selling 40-70 count Russet count cartons for mostly $16.50-$17.00 per 50# box, up from $15.00-$16.00 per box a week ago. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Russet Burbanks is $15.17 per cwt, up from $15.00 per cwt last week.
Pricing for Yellow and Round White potatoes in eastern growing areas is not available at this time, due to a lack of supplies. North Carolina is not yet reporting enough shipments to establish market pricing.