Just up the highway a few miles in Rigby, Idaho, brothers Bryan and Scott Mickelsen had similar predictions for the 2011 potatoes. Bryan Mickelsen is general manager and Scott Mickelsen handles sales at family-owned Rigby Produce Inc. In the last week of August their packing shed was running potatoes that had been trucked in from the west side of the state.
The Mickelson brothers began harvest in southeast Idaho in late September. They are seeing good yields, but they don’t expect this to be a record-setting season.
Grower-shippers throughout the Snake River Valley said they anticipated strong prices for the 2011-12 fiscal year, though none thought they would top the 2010 prices. Weekly reports Sept. 19 to Oct. 1 from the United Potato Growers of Idaho showed a collapse in russet count carton prices, but industry insiders said such drops are usual at this time of year.
“I’m a little disappointed in the prices right now, but not surprised,” said the IPC’s Muir. “There is a high grower return now, so it’s hard for them to put the potatoes in storage and wait for the prices to change.”