Spring planting update for Canadian potatoes

Canadian potato growers look forward to starting a new crop. Here’s the progress to date:

Prince Edward Island: April planting conditions pointed towards an early spring but most of May has been cool and wet, creating some planting delays. Planting is about 25 percent completed. Acreage could be up above last year. Fresh inventory is low, with packers finishing early, and/or managing inventory.

New Brunswick: Planting is around 85 percent complete. Soil was cool earlier on, but also very dry. There has been some reduction in acres devoted to chip production, however growers were happy to convert those acres to French fry production to meet the needs for increased contract volume. Supplies of old crop have been reduced overall.

Quebec: Spring arrived early for most regions of Quebec providing nearly ideal planting conditions. Planting is about 85 percent complete. A slight acreage increase is expected in the fresh and seed sectors while chips will likely remain flat. Processing acres for French fries will need to move up by 15 percent to accommodate increased contract volumes. Quality of old crop in storage is good, however supply is tight.

Ontario: Planting is about 90 percent complete. In the northern area, soil temperatures have been ideal for planting, although cooler for germination and growth.

Growers in the south west started planting in mid-April, finishing up ten days ago. Overall acres should be similar although consistent chip demand could see some shift from the fresh sector.

Manitoba: Planting for processing was completed by mid- May. Soil conditions were extremely dry during planting, however some much needed rain fell over the potato growing region in the past seven days. Old crop is holding up well.

On the Fresh side, planting went well. Reservoirs in the area are mostly empty, although the region recently received an inch of rain. Yellow acres are unchanged with red acres down slightly.

Saskatchewan: Growers experienced an early spring and planted into very dry conditions.

Alberta: Many processing growers in Taber finished planting by mid-May. Planting conditions were extremely dry although rainfall amounts of 15-18 mm were reported in the southern area recently. Soil conditions have been better with good moisture carryover. Overall acres will need to increase as the province returns to 2019 levels.

British Columbia: BC had cool but clear weather allowing for early, steady planting. The first Warbas were planted on March 3rd and came on the market on May 20th, although recent rains hindered digging. Steady supplies of varieties without skin set for local markets will not be available until well into June. Potato acreage may increase slightly with some shift away from Warba and Chieftain varieties. Shipping of old crop has been steady with firm prices.

The Crop Transition Conference, hosted by the United Potato Growers of America, is June 14th at 1:00 p.m. CDT in Fargo, ND. A virtual link will be available.

For more information:
Kevin MacIsaac
United Potato Growers of America

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