Potato growers in Colorado’s San Luis Valley will be allowed to ship smaller Irish spuds under a new U.S. Department of Agriculture rule.

Under the interim rule, effective June 15, the USDA changed the minimum diameters allowed for valley-grown Irish potatoes. The old 1-inch minimum diameter was replaced with a 3/4-inch diameter. The maximum diameter allowed changed from 1 3/4 inches to 1 5/8 inches.

The change was made to meet consumer demand for smaller potatoes.

At a December meeting of the Monte Vista-based Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, San Luis Valley producers discussed the growing market for smaller potatoes sold in consumer packs and included in certain value added potato products, according to the USDA ruling.

Changing the size requirements, producers said, would allow them to better compete with other potato-producing regions for this market.

According to the ruling, the new sizes are expected to “provide producers and handlers with increased returns, and offer consumers increased potato purchasing options.”