Chip potato markets are quiet. Buyers should clean up any open Michigan potatoes, but we are picking up concerns from other growing areas that open potatoes are not moving as quickly as growers would like. The central Florida crop is about ready to harvest. That crop is in good shape. However, there is some concern for crops in north Florida. Harvest could get underway in the Hastings area by the second or third week of April.
2021 chip potato contract volumes across the US are flat to down slightly from last year. Pricing has held steady in most parts of the country. Planting has started in southwest Michigan, though rains have slowed progress this week. The rains are welcome, as soils were extremely dry going into this week. Planting should ramp up rapidly next week. Elsewhere, growers in the Red River Valley are concerned about extremely dry soil conditions. The Valley has received very little moisture since last July.
US packers shipped 1.695 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending March 20, 2021. That is down from 2.157 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 48,059 cwt of potatoes during the week ending March 20, 2021. That is down from 111,380 cwt during the same week in 2020. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 76.0% Russets, 20.6% Yellow varieties, and 1.0% Round White potatoes. Variety information were not available for 4,950 cwt of last week’s Michigan shipments. Please note that year-earlier shipments included the beginning of the pandemic induced surge in retail demand for fresh potatoes, with movement continuing at elevated levels from then through most of April.
Michigan packers are selling size A Russets in 10# bags for mostly $12.50 per 50# bale, unchanged from last week. 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 $12.39 per cwt, up from $11.91 per cwt last week.
In the Red River Valley size-A Yellow potatoes are selling for mostly $26.00 per cwt in 2000# totes, down from $26.00-$29.00 per cwt a week ago. Florida new-crop size A Yellow potatoes are selling for mostly $20.70-$23.25 per 50# carton, 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. Florida packers are selling 50# cartons of size A Round White new-crop potatoes for $22.70-$23.25 per box, unchanged from last week.