Canadian potato production in 2020 1.3% lower than in 2019

Potato Production in Canada for the year 2020, is estimated at
104,203,000 hundred weight. This is down 1.4 million hundred
weight or 1.3% below 2019. Due to market uncertainty from
COVID-19, Canada planted 5,000 fewer acres in the spring of 2020.

The bigger reduction, however, came from hot dry weather
conditions across the country and particularly in Eastern Canada
where many growers are unable to irrigate their crops. Canadian
yields dropped 13cwt./acre from 309cwt./acre in 2019 to
296cwt./acre in 2020. There is large regional disparity within this
crop from East to West. See the following for regional details.

Statistics Canada has estimated Canadian Potato Production in
2020 to be 104,203,000 hundred weight. This is down 1.3% or
1,386,000 hundred weight below the 2019 crop. Hot, dry
conditions declined yields below 2019 by 13cwt./acre to
295.9cwt./acre. Due to better harvest conditions this fall, fewer
acres had to be abandoned in comparison to the last two years.
There are considerable regional differences in the crop this year as
seen in the comments on individual provinces below:

Prince Edward Island:
The province was one of the region’s most severely affected by the
drought. Stats Canada estimates production is down province wide
by an average of 13.6% compared to the 2019 crop. In addition,
there are growers in the central part of the province who
experienced reductions of 25-30%. The reduction translates to
3,300,000 hundred weight and affects all categories of production.
Yields per acre dropped from 289 last year to 251.5 cwt./acre in

Nova Scotia:
Production is estimated to be down 27.9% below 2019. Hot dry
weather in this eastern province reduced yields to 250cwt./acre. In
addition, planted acreage was down from 1,600 acres to 1,200 acres
this spring also contributing to the large reduction.

New Brunswick:
New Brunswick had the largest decrease in potato production this
year at an estimated 29.9% reduction from 2019. Hot, dry weather 
was the cause of this 4,900,000 hundred weight shortfall below 2019.
It is estimated that yields declined to 237.4cwt./acre from
310.6cwt./acre last year. All sectors of seed, table, and processing have had their supply

Not all data from Quebec was available at reporting time so a yield
model was used to produce Quebec’s harvested area, production,
and yield. Estimates will be revised at a later date when available
from the Institut de la Statistique du Quebec. The model estimates
Quebec’s production to be up 1.7% above 2019 at 12,868,000
hundred weight. It is also estimated that yields have risen from
293cwt./acre in 2019 to 312cwt./acre in 2020. Quebec is the one
area of the country that experienced a difficult harvest this fall and
reports at least 2,000 acres that were not harvested. In addition,
some acreage was harvested after very cold temperatures in mid-October and will likely create higher cullage rates in those lots.

Stats Canada estimates Ontario’s production to be up 813,000
hundred weight or 12.1%. This would bring overall production in the
province to 7,518,000 hundred weight. Stats Canada also estimates
that 700 acres were not harvested in the province. Acreage in the
spring had increased by 2,500 acres for both chip and fresh sectors.

After a disastrous harvest last year, Manitoba reports the biggest
increase in Canadian production this year, up 4,300,000 hundred
weight or 21.8% above 2019. Hot, dry weather took the top off
yields, moving down to 337cwt./acre from 345.6cwt./acre a year ago.
Growers, however, were pleased to be able to harvest all of their
crop in record time compared to the fall of 2109 where vast acreages
had to be abandoned due to wet, cold weather. Stats Canada
estimates overall production in the province to come in around
24,000,000 hundred weight. Planted acreage increased in the spring 
by 1,500 acres bringing the total in the country’s second largest
acreage to 71,500 acres.

Production is expected to be down 6.7% this year with a total
production of 1,400,000 hundred weight. Stats Canada estimates
yields were reduced from 250 cwt./acre last year to 233cwt./acre in
2020, mostly due to a hot dry growing season. Saskatchewan acres
dropped from 6,300 acres to 6,000 acres this spring.

Stats Canada estimates Alberta increased its production by 7.8% or
1,689,000 million hundred weight in 2020 making it the second
largest provincial increase in Canada this year. Although the growing
season was a bit of a challenge, yields increased to 404cwt./acre
compared to 382cwt./acre in the 2019 crop. It also ended well with
excellent harvest conditions allowing growers to pick up much more
of their crop compared to a year ago. Stats Canada estimates that
1,740 acres were not harvested, likely explainable by drowned out
areas in the spring. Total production in the province is expected to
reach 23,407,000 hundred weight. Growers had decreased their
acreage in the spring by 1,550 acres as they reacted accordingly to
processor volume reductions as a result of COVID-19 slowdowns.

British Columbia:
Stats Canada estimates production in British Columbia very close to
2019 with an increase of 0.5%. Total production is expected to come
in at 2,155,000 hundred weight. An excellent growing season
produced recording breaking yields for the province at
331.5cwt./acre, up from last year’s 325cwt./acre. Good fall weather
allowed all of the crop to be harvested.

For more information:
Kevin MacIsaac
United Potato Growers of Canada

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