Market Report September 23rd, 2020

News Category: Market Reports
Potato truck

North America’s fall potato harvest is progressing rapidly, with few of the problems that have plagued the industry during recent years. Michigan’s harvest appears to be moving forward ahead of schedule. However, growers are indicating that they are disappointed with this year’s yields. Storage supplies may be limited. Field delivery contracts are likely to clean up ahead of schedule, which will result in buyers needing to start pulling contract potatoes ahead of schedule.
The chip potato market is extremely quiet. Plants are running almost exclusively on contract potatoes. Dealers indicate that there is no trading of open potatoes, currently. Growers are concentrating on getting the 2020 crop under cover.
USDA has revised 2019 production data for 12 of the 13 reporting states, including Michigan. The agency reduced its estimate of last year’s harvested area by 4,900 acres, to 937,300 acres. That was offset by a 4 cwt increase in the national average yield, to 453 cwt per acre. The US 2019 potato crop is now estimated at 424.4 million cwt. That exceeds the previous estimate by 1.5 million cwt. However, it remains 7.4 million cwt or 1.7% below the 2018 crop.
For Michigan, USDA increased the state’s harvested area estimate by 2,000 acres, to 48,500 acres. That was partially offset by a 5 cwt yield estimate reduction, to 420 cwt per acre (still a record). The net result was a 607,000 cwt increase to the 2019 crop estimate, boosting it to 20.37 million cwt. That is 2.13 million cwt more than the 2017 crop estimate. Such an increase seems unlikely, as recorded shipments of table and chip potatoes from the 2019 crop fell 2% short of reported movement from the 2018 crop.
US packers shipped 1.829 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending September 19, 2020. That is up from 1.672 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 42,109 cwt of potatoes during the week ending September 19, 2020. That is up from 28,200 cwt during the same week in 2019. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 84.3% Russets, 13.5% Round White potatoes and 2.1% Red potatoes.
Wisconsin packers are selling size A Russet potatoes in 10# bags for mostly $9.00-$10.00 per 50# bales unchanged from last week. They are selling 40-70 count Russet count cartons for mostly $12.00-$15.00 per 50# box, down from $16.50-$18.00 per box a week ago. The weighted average shipping point price for new-crop Idaho Russet Norkotahs is $15.71 per cwt. That is up from $15.70 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.
USDA has discontinued reporting prices for Delaware potatoes as that state’s shipping season is winding to a close. Long Island baled 10/5# size A Round White potatoes are selling for $12.00-$13.00 per 50# bale, unchanged for the week.