Total Canadian potato storage holdings on June 1, 2020 were 12.5% above the 3-yr. average at 20,732,000 hundred weight. Table potatoes will likely clean up in a timely manner, some chip potatoes may need to be imported, and both processing and seed categories will have supply left over this year due to COVID-19 restrictions affecting the marketplace and in particular, the all-important food service sector.
Fresh Holdings in Canada on June 1, 2020 are 15.1% below the 3 year average with 2 million hundred weight in storage. Table potato disappearance has been good (although slowed slightly from March and April) as more consumers cooked their meals at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prince Edward Island and Quebec are the only two provinces with holdings above their 3-yr. average. Fresh stocks are still at one of their lowest levels since provinces started reporting intended utilization data. Alberta and British Columbia have depleted their local supplies of table potatoes.
Processing Holdings on June 1, 2020 are 17.9 million cwt. or 14.4% above the 3 year average. Although the COVID-19 Pandemic has had an effect on all sectors, the usage decline was most dramatic in processing, as sit-down portions of quick service and fast casual restaurants were closed. The decline in French fry production would actually be much larger as this time last year fry companies were importing potatoes from the United States to supplement their local factories. In recent days, French fry sales seem to have begun their climb back upwards as restaurants begin to open and fryers advise their contract growers they may need more raw product than what they had indicated a month earlier.
Seed inventory on June 1, 2020 was 822,000 hundred weight. This is 106% or 424,000 hundred weight above the 3 year average which is over double the 3 year average and seven times that of last year. With planting almost complete at this time, this left-over seed will not have a home in the seed category. Unfortunately, seed growers in many provinces have been victims of the COVID- 19 pandemic, cancelling orders from processing growers this spring.