Statistics Canada released their first estimate of potato acreage in Canada from data obtained with their survey of Canadian potato growers.
The 2021 potato acreage is estimated at 378,624 acres. This is an increase of 5.3% on 2020. A year ago, the 2020 acreage had declined below 2019 plantings due to COVID-19 market uncertainty. This year’s increase, predominantly in major processing provinces, helps bring supply in the industry back to meet demand increases in the industry that began pre-COVID. The acreage of potatoes planted in Canada, is still well below its peak of 457,500 acres which occurred back in 2003.
The most significant acreage increases in 2021 occurred in the western provinces of Alberta and Manitoba, where each area has had processing plant expansion in the last 2-3 years. Alberta producers planted an additional 7,823 acres or an increase of 13.1%, and Manitoba growers planted an additional 7,200 acres or 10.1% above 2020. The third largest increase is in New Brunswick where an additional 4,600 acres (9.2%) are estimated to be planted, to help supply a formed line expansion for the fry plant in that province. Ontario’s increase of 5% is also driven by strong processing demand but for chips instead of fries.
Prince Edward Island reports an increase of 1.1% at 84,500 acres as it continues to plant the largest acreage in the country. The survey has used Quebec’s 5-yr. average of 43,000 acres, however industry expected acreage to be at least equal to last year’s 45,638 acres with demand increases identified for both fresh and processing sectors. It is also surprising to see a 5% decrease reported in British Columbia’s acreage, down to 6,000 acres. Acreage in Saskatchewan moves back up closer to traditional levels at 6,200 acres. N.S. reports a decline of 100 acres this year.