( The Packer )

Potato acreage will be lower this year but by how much?

An acreage estimate from the subscription-based North American Potato Market News indicates a fairly significant cut in potato acreage, according to a report in Spudman.

The overall acreage decline is pegged at 6.2% compared with 2019, according to NAPM. The acreage decline is led by Washington, Idaho, and North Dakota, while Colorado is up slightly.

It sounds like the early scuttlebutt is that the processors may have underestimated the rebound associated with French fry demand, which is coming back faster than the processors anticipated. That could set up a competition for potatoes between processors and fresh potato shippers later in the year. Another unpredictable and potentially volatile year for potato prices.

Here are a few charts looking at potato market performance since the beginning of the year.  

One chart shows that potato growers have received just 0.45% of the total payments to U.S. growers under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.