Market Report Potato shipments are moving from storage in the major potato producing regions and from spring crops in California and Florida.Top shipping states for the week of June 6, in order, were Idaho, Colorado, Kern district of California, Washington/Oregon and Florida, according to USDA’s National Shipping Point Trends. Shipments from North Carolina are expected to start this week as harvest winds down in Florida.
Idaho is shipping almost all Russet Burbanks in early June, with Russet Norkotah accounting for only 2 percent of shipments. Total movement was about 611,000 cwt. and expected to remain the same. In May, Idaho shipped 2.47 million cwt., a 6 percent decrease from last year. Prices for five 10-pound film bags were $4-$4.50, while 50-pound cartons of 40- to 80-count were trading around $11-11.50.
Colorado movement increased slightly the first week of June to 370,000 cwt. For the month of May, Colorado shipped 1.47 million cwt., about 200,000 cwt. more than last year but only slightly more than 2007. Russet Norkotahs in 40- to 80-count 50-pound cartons were trading around $9-$10.50, while bailed five 10-pound bags were trading at $5-$5.50.
The Kern County, Calif., harvest is underway and shipments are expected to increase this week, although size is small and yields are light in early Russet Burbank fields, according to USDA. In May, the Kern district shipped almost 800,000 cwt., a decrease of more than 200,000 cwt. from last year but slightly higher than 2007. Round red potatoes in 50-pound cartons were trading at $10 for As and $12 for Bs, long whites were trading at $14-$16 for As and $10 for Bs, and yellows were trading at $16-$18 for As and $10 for Bs.
The Columbia Basin shipped 170,000 cwt. the first week of June, and 843,000 cwt. in the entire month of May, a decrease of almost 300,000. Prices for Russet Norkotahs in 40- to 80-count 50-pound cartons were generally $10-$12.
The Florida harvest is winding down, so shipments from the area are expected to decrease. In early June, growers in Florida shipped 130,000 cwt., but quality varied due to a large amount of rain in the growing areas. Shipments for the month of May were off 15 percent from last year, at 695,000 cwt.
May shipments from other potato producing states were: 457,000 cwt. from Wisconsin (a 9 percent decrease from 2008), 266,000 cwt. from Minnesota/North Dakota (up from 177,000 cwt. in 2008 but lower than the 330,000 cwt. shipped in 2007), 204,000 from the Klamath Basin (up from 177,000 cwt. last year but slightly lower than 2007) and 126,000 cwt. from Nebraska (down from 405,000 cwt. in 2008 and 303,000 cwt. in 2007).
North Carolina and Virginia have just started harvest or will this week, and the crop is expected to be in good condition, with shipments from the area beginning next week.
Seed potato shipments this season from Idaho were up about 3 percent, to 6.5 million cwt. Montana seed shipments, at 2.6 million cwt., were on par with last season, as were Red River Valley seed shipments at 1.9 million cwt. Wisconsin has shipped nearly 1.6 million cwt. of seed potatoes, a 15 percent increase from last season.