Chip potato markets remain quiet. Buyers appear to have plenty of storage potatoes to carry them through the season. Movement has been slightly slower than what dealers would like to see.
North Carolina planting is underway. A few growers began planting early potatoes in mid-February. Most are planting now. The weather has been ideal, and growers are expected to finish planting the 2022 spring crop on schedule. The central Florida crop has mostly bounced back from the frost damage received in early February. Early potatoes may have been set back 7-10 days, while the later crop received very little damage. Weather has been favorable since the freeze, though the crop could use some rainfall.
The Shearer’s Foods potato chip plant in Hermiston, Oregon was destroyed by fire on February 22, 2022. Shearer’s Foods makes potato chips and other snack foods. The company has 12 facilities in the US and Canada, though the Hermiston plant was the only one located in the western part of the country. The plant employed 400 people when operating at capacity. Early reports indicate that the company is uncertain about rebuilding, since the entire plant was destroyed. Potatoes intended for processing in Hermiston may be trucked to some of the company’s other plants.
US fourth quarter potato chip exports (mostly product fabricated from potato flakes) totaled 26.59 million lbs. That is 2.19 million lbs less than year-earlier exports, a 7.6% decline. Strong shipments to Canada were offset by reduced exports to Mexico, the Philippines, and several smaller customers. The 7.6% decline in October-December chip exports followed a 10.2% increase during the third quarter and a 30.6% increase during the second quarter.
US packers shipped 1.555 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending February 26, 2022. That is down from 1.813 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 59,800 cwt of potatoes during the week ending February 26, 2022. That matched shipments during the same week in 2021. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 82.6% Russets, 7.7% Round White potatoes, 7.5% Yellow potatoes, and 2.3% Red potatoes.
USDA reports that Michigan packers are selling size A Russets in 10# bags for mostly $11.00-$12.00 per 50# bale, unchanged from a week ago. Wisconsin packers are selling size A Russet potatoes in 10# bags for mostly $9.50-$10.50 per 50# bale, unchanged from last week. They are selling Russet 40-70 count cartons for mostly $16.00-$17.50 per 50# box, unchanged from a week ago. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Russet Norkotahs is $21.40 per cwt, down from $22.02 per cwt last week.
Red River Valley packers are selling size A Yellow potatoes in 2000# tote bags for mostly $25.00-$26.00 per cwt, up from $24.00-$26.00 per cwt last week. Florida new-crop size A Yellow potatoes are selling for mostly $25.95-$28.25 per 50# carton. FIRST REPORT.
Maine packers are selling 2 inch minimum Round White potatoes in 10/5# film bags for $10.50-$11.00 per 50# bale, unchanged from a week ago. Florida packers are selling 50# cartons of size A Round White new-crop potatoes for $34.95-$35.25 per box. FIRST REPORT