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PEI potato pricing stays stable despite slightly slower movement

The supply of fresh market table stock potatoes from Prince Edward Island, Canada looks to be in "reasonably good shape." "The trouble is when you look at inventories in May, even if they're higher than last year, there is typically a lot more culling at this time of year," says Dwayne Coffin of Vanco Produce Ltd. "So you might feel as though you have maybe a few too many but then when you go to run them, you don't have as many."

On the processing side, there is more than enough supply to carry until the new crop comes on. "It's not excessive but we'll have enough to run the plants," he says.

Compared to last year, fresh market supply is slightly down this year but overall there are more potatoes than last year. "We're also in the middle of planting so on the seed sector side, a lot of those potatoes are being moved and used as well," adds Coffin.

Trailer loads behind
As for demand, selling potatoes has been a challenging year again on the fresh market side. Movement since January has been running behind other years by approximately 1,500 tractor-trailer loads–a significant volume. Much of this is due to high yields in other potato-producing regions such as Western Canada/US. "Sales that we would typically make in the U.S. from January until now, it seems like there's just a lot more competition," says Coffin. "Some shipping regions were in the marketplace much later than other years."

That said, prices have remained relatively stable. While some consumer packs have seen softer pricing, overall it's been maintained, partly due to the currencies and exchange rate. "I don't see a lot of change on pricing ahead on the fresh market side," says Coffin. "Prices should remain stable now until the end of the shipping season. A lot of the product from here on out, the quality has to be really very good."

Looking ahead at the fall 2024 crop, planting is slightly ahead this spring by about a week. "It was certainly dry enough to get on to get into the fields and do some planting. Though these past two weeks, the weather's been almost ideal with some warmer temperatures," he says. "The fieldwork is ahead, but it was colder than other years. However, in our region, the temperatures tend to fluctuate a lot at this time of year."

For more information:
Dwayne Coffin
Vanco Produce Ltd.
Tel: +1 (902) 651-2005
[email protected]