Market Report October 14th, 2020

News Category: Market Reports
Potato truck

Michigan growers need seven days of good harvest weather to finish harvest. Forecasts are calling for showery conditions with cool temperatures over the next week, which could cause harvest to drag out. Growers in central and northern Michigan are disappointed with this year’s yields. They are not terrible, but they are below expectations. 

Chip potato business continues to be good. The conversion to storage contracts is on schedule – maybe slightly ahead of schedule. Growers in Michigan and points west should have enough potatoes to cover contracts, on average, but there does not appear to be any large blocks of open potatoes available. Growers in Maine and New York are likely to come up short on contracts. Low solids on this year’s crop will reduce finished-product recovery rates. Chip companies will need more early potatoes in 2021 than they contracted for in 2020. 

Seed potato supplies could be an issue for growers next year. While seed supply is never the limiting factor for planting potatoes, growers may find it difficult to find seed of the desired variety and quality that they need. Seed crops in Maine and New Brunswick, where much of the seed for early chip-potato crops originates, have been hammered by drought this year. We have picked up reports of seed yields falling 40%-50% below average. While that may be exaggerated, there is no doubt that supplies will be down, and quality might be compromised on the remaining seed. That situation may force chip potato growers in early growing areas to plant varieties that have not been proven in their growing areas and/or to plant lower-quality seed than they normally would be willing to purchase. It could lead to lower yields on their 2021 potato crop.
US packers shipped 1.699 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending October 10, 2020. That is up from 1.615 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 40,271 cwt of potatoes during the week ending October 10, 2020. That is up from 35,650 cwt during the same week in 2019. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 89.3% Russets, 6.2% Round White potatoes and 4.5% Red potatoes.

USDA reports that Michigan packers are selling size A Russets in 10# bags for $6.25-$6.50 per 50# bale. FIRST REPORT. Wisconsin packers are selling size A Russet potatoes in 10# bags for mostly $9.00-$10.00 per 50# bale unchanged from last week. They are selling 40-70 count Russet count cartons for mostly $12.00-$14.00 per 50# box, also unchanged for the week. The weighted average shipping point price for new-crop Idaho Russet Norkotahs is $15.73 per cwt. That is up from $15.61 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.