Harvest is expected to start in late July, about a week to ten days late, with good quality and yields expected in both states, Long said.
“On the early and late crops, the red, yellow and russets all look good,” he said. “If the weather stays as good, it should be average or above average on yields and quality.”
The late start could mean an emptier pipeline when the new crop starts shipping, Long said.
“It’s going to help clean out the storage crop here, in Idaho and in Colorado,” he said. “We’ll get a jump on the early market, we hope.”
As other states enter the fresh deal, however, the market environment for Oregon and Washington could change, Long said.
“There’s a big question on Idaho,” he said. “We know they’re going to be up.”
Other states, however, that have state chapters affiliated with Salt Lake City-based United Potato Growers of America, which encourages and helps growers rein in acreage to keep markets strong, are expected to hold the line or reduce acreage in 2009-10, Long said.
But because Idaho is so much bigger than anyone else, an acreage boost there could send ripples throughout the entire industry.
Long does not think Idaho deserves blame for the expected boost. The state reduced its acreage severely last season, he said.
“Idaho is adhering to the cuts just like everybody else,” he said.
Diverted acreage from processor markets due to sluggish demand could pose another headache for Washington and Oregon growers if that excess product is dumped on the fresh market, Long said.