The Canadian potato crop is in the “growing stage”. There is a recurring theme from coast to coast: It is dry – the crop is not suffering yet because it is in the early stages of development but does need rain soon. There will have a better idea on acreage changes after the 16th of July and all growers are encouraged to respond to acreage surveys being conducted now by Statistics Canada. Input is critical to accuracy.
Prince Edward Island
Planting was completed almost two weeks ahead of last year. Most of the crop has now emerged and needs rain, although there is not much in the immediate forecast. Based on preliminary surveys, acreage could be down to 83,000 acres from last year’s 85,500 acres. Most of the reduction centers around a 6-7% reduction in processing contract volume. Chips are up a bit and fresh acres are about the same as 2019. For old crop, shipments are 12% ahead of same date last year, but on par with the 3-yr. average.
The old crop will get cleaned up now that processors have committed to take the rest of the available processing potatoes and also use some seed lots as well. Due to lost sales in seed, there are still about 11,000 tonnes of seed remaining in warehouses. Most fresh packers are confident with the levels of supply they have left to ship in the remainder of the season. The PEI Potato Board has conducted several potato give-aways this spring, in conjunction with other ag commodities. They and other provinces have received positive feedback from their efforts to help reduce a surplus by donating to the needy.
Growing conditions are very dry with the province closing down logging operations in the woods and restricting access to salmon fishing pools on crown land. Fortunately, the potato crop is not at a critical stage for water just yet and is not hurting. Planted acreage was reduced due to processing contract reductions in the range of 16%. There were significant lots of Shepody, and Russet Burbank seed left over.
Stocks of old crop potatoes are becoming more reduced all the time. Processing varieties like innovators and burbanks are in line, and most of the available tablestock is in the hands of shippers who normally market it at this time of year. The fresh market is stable. A large volume of potatoes has gone to dehy, and smaller amounts have been disposed of. Prior to fryer purchasing announcements in recent days, processing plants went down expecting to be off-line for 6 weeks but with resumption of French fry demand, started back up after only two weeks of idling.
To read the full report from United Potato Growers of Canada, click here.