Fall U.S. potato production drops from 2009 - The Packer

Fall U.S. potato production drops from 2009

12/10/2010 12:02:07 PM
Cynthia David

Tim Feit, marketing director for the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association Inc., Antigo, said with all the rain, growers were concerned about storage issues, “but we haven’t seen any so far.

“The timing of the rains allowed us to get the crop out of the ground,” he said. “Overall, it’s an average crop of good quality.”

Paul Dolan, general manager of Associated Potato Growers Inc., Grand Forks, N.D., said his red potato packing cooperative is facing its most severe transportation shortage in five years.

Supply is down for a number of reasons, Dolan said. Some truckers are getting out of the business and having a hard time finding drivers, and the holiday season is always a challenge.

“We’ve been moving more potatoes by rail to help keep movement up,” he said, “but rail rates aren’t always appealing — in a lot of places they’re higher than trucks.”

Associated also is moving one of two trucks to the rain-soaked upper Washington area, he said. “We typically don’t get in that area until spring.”

After two wet years, Prince Edward Island finally got a break this summer, said Greg Donald, general manager of the Charlottetown-based Prince Edward Island Potato Board.

In fact, a dry spell at the end of August took the edge off what looked like a spectacular season.

As growers plan for next year, Frankel said they should not consider increasing acreage.

“As yields come up to their expected level, we will get a fairly significant jump of 4% in total supply for 2011 and 2012, even with no change in acreage,” he said.

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