Weekly Potato Report
Michigan Potato Industry Commission
May 22, 2013
Chipstock supplies appear to be plentiful, in spite of all the problems with crops in Florida. Growers would like to move more potatoes, but chip plants are running close to capacity. Chip companies appear to be confident that they will have enough supplies to cover the transition from Florida to North Carolina and Missouri without any problems. However, that presupposes that Florida potatoes will hold up through the middle of June. The crop has been under a great deal of stress. Summer heat, or additional rains could complicate supply conditions over the next 2-3 weeks.
Potato chip demand appears to be picking up, following a weak stretch during February and March. Chip plants are running hard. The biggest company is promoting potato chips heavily. The industry seems confident that raw product supplies will be adequate, which is allowing for the promotional activity.
Planting is advancing rapidly in most growing areas. Michigan's crop is about 80% planted. However, the Red River Valley has experienced more setbacks, with heavy rains this week. The rains have caused the Red River to flood. In addition, low spots in fields are under water, which will result in abandonment, and some replanting. Such losses are normal for the region, but they have the potential to create a production shortfall. The North Dakota potato crop was only 25% planted as of May 19, compared to 88% last year, and an average of 22%. The delays will have the biggest impact on North Dakota's processing potato production, but chip potato yields could be affected as well, if the delays continue.
US fresh potato shipments for the week ending May 18 totaled 2.015 million cwt, compared to 2.030 million cwt a year earlier. Those shipments included 35,900 cwt of potatoes from Michigan. The Michigan shipments were up from 18,000 cwt during the same week in 2012. The Michigan shipments were 75.8% Russets and 24.2% Round White potatoes.
USDA reports that Michigan packers are getting mostly $1.40-$1.60 per 10# bag for size A Russets, up from $1.35-$1.40 at this time last week. Wisconsin packers are getting mostly $6.50-$7.00 per bale for 5/10# non-size A Russet potatoes, up from $6.25-$6.50 a week ago. Wisconsin 50-70 count cartons are selling for mostly $8.00-$9.00 per 50# box, compared to $7.50-$8.50 last week at this time. The weighted average shipping point price for Idaho Russet Burbank potatoes climbed to $11.54 per cwt, from $10.91 at this time last week.
USDA has stopped reporting prices for Maine Round White potatoes from the 2012 crop, as the shipping season is winding down. Florida Round White potatoes also are in too few hands to establish a market. Nationally, only 31,500 cwt of Round White potatoes were shipped during the week ending May 18 this is down 52.5% from year-earlier shipments.
Information comes from Bruce Huffaker, North American Potato Market News. This weekly newsletter has more complete potato market information. For subscription information, call (208) 525-8397, fax (208) 525-8569, write PO Box 135, Shelley ID 83274, or e-mail email@example.com.
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Important Meeting June 8th