The North Carolina chip potato harvest is getting under way this week. Some dealers report loading chip potatoes from three separate sources, Florida, North Carolina, and storage locations such as Michigan. Chip plants are running almost exclusively on contract potatoes, though Florida growers do have open potatoes for sale – finding buyers for those potatoes is challenging. Several chip companies are behind on receiving contract potatoes.
Heavy rains last weekend slowed the North Carolina harvest. Elizabeth City reported 5.13 inches of rain, but some fields may have received close to 10 inches. That probably drowned out low spots in field and it may create quality issues as the harvest progresses. Growers had been concerned about dry conditions earlier during May, but that situation has been alleviated.
Canada reports that it had 14.93 million cwt of potatoes in storage on June 1. That is 5.05 million cwt less than the year-earlier inventory, a 25.3% reduction. The June 1 stocks are the lowest on record for this time of the year since 2012. They include a record 996,000 cwt of potatoes located in Ontario, up from 642,000 cwt last year. The Ontario stocks include 842,000 cwt of chip potatoes, also a record. At the May usage rate, Ontario’s chip potatoes would last through July 21. That almost certainly limits the volume of Canadian chip potato imports for this summer.
US packers shipped 1.410 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending June 5, 2021. That is down from 1.669 million cwt a year earlier Memorial Day came a week later this year). Michigan packers shipped 21,870 cwt of potatoes during the week ending June 5, 2021. That is down from 41,950 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, down from $8.00-$9.00 per bale a week ago. They are selling 40-70 count Russet count cartons for mostly $15.00-$15.50 per 50# box, up from $14.00-$15.00 per box a week ago. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Russet Burbanks is $14.76 per cwt, up from $14.31 per cwt last week.
Florida new-crop size A Yellow potatoes are selling for mostly $20.70 per 50# carton, down from $20.70-$21.50 per box a week ago.
USDA has discontinued reporting Florida prices for Round White potatoes for the 2021 crop, as the season is winding down. North Carolina should start reporting Round White prices by the fourth week of June.