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Summer Potatoes Down 1 Percent, 2003 Production Same as 2002

Production of summer potatoes is forecast at 18.5 million cwt in 2004, down 1 percent from both the July 1 forecast and the 2003 final estimate. Harvested area is estimated at 55,100 acres, down 6 percent from last year. The average yield is forecast at 336 cwt. per acre, 9 cwt. above the July forecast and 16 cwt. above last year. The decrease in acres more than offset the increase in yield.

Yields are expected to be above last year in Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico and Texas. Wet conditions in Alabama, New Jersey and Virginia have caused potatoes to rot with growers abandoning some fields. Growers have also abandoned some acres in Missouri due to heavy rains and poor prices. Wet August weather in Delaware and Maryland set the potato harvest slightly behind schedule, but the crop is in good condition. Colorado had scattered thunderstorms and
some hail damage that have slowed harvest but the condition of the crop is good. Harvest is progressing in California's Central Valley. Condition of the crop is good and yields have been reported as normal. The quality of the crop in Texas is reported as good and harvest is almost complete.

Final 2003 Production

Final production of potatoes from all four seasons in 2003 totaled 458 million cwt. – virtually unchanged from a year earlier
but 5 percent above 2001.

Area harvested is estimated at 1.25 million acres, down 1 percent from 2002 but 2 percent above 2001. The yield, averaging 367 cwt. per acre, increased 5 cwt. from a year earlier and is 9 cwt. more than 2001. Winter production in 2003 dropped 4 percent from 2002. Spring and summer production rose 9 percent and 5 percent, respectively, from a year earlier. Fall potatoes decreased 1 percent in 2003 from the previous year.


Originally posted Monday, Oct. 18, 2004

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