Market Report November 11th, 2020

Potato truck

USDA estimates 2020 US potato production at 415.5 million cwt. That is down 8.9 million cwt, or 2.1% from the 2019 crop. The crop estimate may be overstating production, particularly for Idaho and Maine. A crop as large as USDA is reporting probably would put downward pressure on Russet table potatoes. 
USDA puts Michigan’s 2020 potato crop at 17.39 million cwt. That is 2.98 million cwt less than it reported for the 2019 crop, a 14.6% decline. The government now says that Michigan growers planted 2,000 fewer acres to potatoes in 2020 than they did a year ago. It put the state’s average yield at 370 cwt per acre versus 420 cwt for the 2019 crop. Our sources believe that the 2019 crop numbers were inflated. This year’s downturn is not as severe as USDA reported (a 20-30 cwt yield reduction rather than 50 cwt) but that this year’s numbers may be accurate. 
Chip potato demand remains strong. Chip companies are running almost exclusively on contract potatoes. Any open market business is being done at contract price. Chip companies are pulling some storage potatoes before they have had a chance to fully recondition. That is resulting in some color issues. Otherwise, this year’s crop quality appears to be excellent.
US packers shipped 1.848 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending November 7, 2020. That is down from 1.888 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 52,233 cwt of potatoes during the week ending November 7, 2020. That is down from 62,400 cwt during the same week in 2019. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 82.8% Russets, 10.7% Round White potatoes, 5.4% Yellow varieties and 1.1% Red potatoes.
USDA reports that Michigan packers are selling size A Russets in 10# bags for mostly $12.00-$13.00 per 50# bale, down from $12.50-$13.00 per bale a week ago. Wisconsin packers are selling size A Russet potatoes in 10# bags for mostly $8.50-$9.50 per 50# bale, unchanged from last week. They are selling 40-70 count Russet count cartons for $12.00-$14.00 per 50# box, unchanged for the week. The weighted average shipping point price for new-crop Idaho Russet Norkotahs is $15.40 per cwt. That is down from $15.42 per cwt a week ago.
    Wisconsin packers are selling 10/5# bales of size A Yellow potatoes for mostly $18.00-$19.00 per bale, unchanged from last week.
Long Island baled 10/5# size A Round White potatoes are selling for mostly $12.00-$12.50 per 50# bale, 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.