Market Report September 2nd, 2020

News Category: Market Reports
Potato truck

Fall potato harvest continues to ramp up across North America, with growers in some areas, including Michigan, starting to put potatoes in storage. Growers are reporting yields that are average to slightly below average, with some exceptions. Drought in Maine has reduced that state’s yield expectations by 20%, relative to the previous five-year average. The USDA average yield is likely to fall 10-15 cwt short of the 20-year trend. The primary factor in that decline is the relatively large drop in the area for harvest in Washington and Oregon. Those two states produce the strongest potato yields in the country, so the acreage decline will dampen the national average yield.
Chip potato business is steady, though the seasonal downturn that comes with Labor Day may be starting to slow movement. Nevertheless, demand should remain strong. Potato chip sales continue at elevated levels as COVID-19 continues to keep people home. In eastern and central growing areas growers continue to report below average solids. As a result, chip companies will need more potatoes to make the same amount of finished product. North Dakota is one of the few areas reporting stronger yields on this year’s potato crop. With yields down from last year in Michigan and points east supplies of storage chip potatoes are likely to be quite tight for the 2020 crop.
US packers shipped 1.421 million cwt of table potatoes during the week ending August 29, 2020. That is down from 1.618 million cwt a year earlier. Michigan packers shipped 13,237 cwt of potatoes during the week ending August 29. That is down from 30,550 cwt during the same week in 2019. Last week’s Michigan shipments were 79.6% Russets, 8.3% Round White potatoes and 12.1% Red potatoes.
Wisconsin packers are selling size A Russet potatoes in 10# bags for mostly $9.00-$10.00 per 50# bale. That is down from $10.00 per bale a week ago. They are selling 40-70 count Russet count cartons for mostly $16.50-$18.00 per 50# box. That is down from $18.00-$19.00 per box a week ago. The weighted average shipping point price for new-crop Idaho Russet Norkotahs is $17.76 per cwt. That is down from $20.68 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.
Delaware packers are selling baled 10/5# bags of size A Round White potatoes for $14.00-$14.50 per bale, unchanged from last week. Long Island packers are selling 10/5# bales of Round White potatoes for $14.50 per bale, also unchanged.