Potato stocks match last year; prices lower

01/24/2003 12:00:00 AM
Tom Lister

Okray attributed weaker markets this season partly to psychology.

“Perception in this business usually dictates what it will be,” he said of the market.

Last season, Okray said, many shippers were losing money and going out of business after four or five years of depressed pricing. That fear drove them to get bullish with the lower supplies they had. This year, people went back to the old pattern of decreasing prices when movement slowed down.

“It’s like we didn’t learn anything,” he said.

Despite lower markets this winter for storage russets, the California fresh deal was in a league of its own, said Dennis Francis, sales manager for DM Camp & Sons, Bakersfield, Calif. He reported f.o.b.s for 50-pound cartons of white As at $14, reds $10 and yukons $14. Harvest should move from the Bakersfield area to the desert in late February and early March.

Shippers in Idaho and Colorado already are looking toward next season’s production. Stanger, noting a lack of snowpack, said Idaho’s water tables are extremely low. Smith noted the same for Colorado, saying that more snowfall was needed to recharge the region’s aquifers.

“We are definitely in this valley very water short,” he said.


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