Late start, fewer acres stoke new crop spud prices

07/07/2011 09:34:00 AM
Dan Gailbraith

Fifty-pound cartons of U.S. 1 round reds from Washington were $18-20 in sizes A and B. A year ago, 50-pound cartons of round reds from Washington were $12-16 in size A and $18-22 in size B.

Round whites in 50-pound cartons of round whites from Washington in size A were $28-30. Size Bs were $16-18. A year earlier, the same product in size A from Kern County, Calif., was $16-20 and $14-18 in size B.

Some shippers had finished their storage crop by the end of June.

“We got finished about three weeks ago,” said Chris Ratliff, salesman for Wong Potatoes Inc., Klamath Falls, Ore. “Last year turned out real good. The price, of course, was real good. Quality was about normal.”

The new crop is shaping up well, Ratliff added.

“Everything seems to be going good this year,” he said. “We had a cold spring this year, too, but it really hasn’t bothered anything. Last year, it rained a lot, but this year, everything’s looking real good.”

Larry Sieg, Pasco, Wash.-based sales manager of Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Potandon Produce LLC, voiced optimism about the upcoming crop.

“I think the crop is progressing very, very well,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to be maybe a week behind, at the most. The last month or so, it’s been about ideal temperatures. Just about what the doctor ordered.”

Short supplies have led to “a hot market,” Sieg added.


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