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Idaho potato acreage and yields down for 2022-2023 crop

Potato acreage is down and yields are relatively low in Idaho.

“Growers aren’t feeling very positive about their yields--they’re looking to be lower,” says Ryan Wahlen of Pleasant Valley Potato.

He notes there are a few factors behind the reduced yields, starting with a delay in the crop to start the season. “This year, it was a very cool spring and the plants didn’t get the level of growth that we expected them to have by the end of June. At that point, the plants were about two weeks behind,” says Wahlen. “Then, the months of July and August were extremely hot. The reality is that the size profile of the crop never did develop as expected. The size profile is going to be smaller than last year.”

This comes on top of a nine percent acreage reduction in the state at the start of the season--a total of 25,000 acres down. “But that was understood from the beginning of the season. The disturbing thing right now is the yields being so much lower than they were expected to be,” Wahlen says. He notes that the anticipated yield was somewhere around 440 sacks/acre, though there are reports that the further north the field is, the better the yield. However, there was one report of 300 sacks/acre.

Demand staying strong
Meanwhile, demand continues to look strong for potatoes, even at the higher prices seen this year. “Our demand hasn’t changed. The market right now is a typical harvest market where the prices come down as harvest proceeds,” he says. “But now every aspect of the industry is going to be competing for supply whether it’s the processors making fries or the dehydrators who make flakes or the fresh shippers. Every outlet is going to be competing for a supply that’s lower than it was last season and last season’s supply was low enough to lead to record high markets.”

Wahlen says there’s no doubt that the market on average this year will be higher than last year. “And potentially we could see the peak season pricing be higher than last year,” he says. “It’s a scary situation and something we haven’t seen before. With that reduction in acreage and reduction in yield, all bets are off.”

For more information:
Ryan Wahlen
Pleasant Valley Potato
Tel: +1 (208)-397-4194  

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