Chip potato markets are quiet. The central Florida chip harvest is under way. Crop looks good. Reports indicate that the first potatoes planted in north Florida had emerged before the heavy rains. They are doing good and did not need to be replanted. Replanting took place on fields intended for harvest from mid-May into June. Those potatoes are questionable. They are emerging now, but observers wonder if they will be ready for harvest on schedule.
Another concern for the chip industry this year is that growers have planted a number of varieties with which they are unfamiliar, due to a lack of seed for their preferred varieties. That could lead to crop management issues, which might compromise yields or quality. Most of the issues are likely to be with potatoes harvested this summer. The largest seed shortfall involved Atlantics.
Potato chip demand is picking up seasonally, but comps with 2020 will show negative numbers for at least the next six weeks. A year ago, sales spiked as consumers started to cope with the pandemic lockdown. Demand for chips remained elevated through the summer months, but seems to have reverted back to pre-pandemic levels in recent months despite continuing restrictions on movement and social interaction.
US packers shipped 1.801 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending March 27, 2021. That is down from 2.308 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 53,115 cwt of potatoes during the week ending March 27, 2021. That is down from 102,470 cwt during the same week in 2020. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 75.4% Russets, 22.0% Yellow varieties, and 2.5% Round White potatoes.
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 $13.10 per cwt, up from $12.39 per cwt last week.
In the Red River Valley size-A Yellow potatoes are selling for mostly $26.00 per cwt in 2000# totes, unchanged from last week. 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.