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March Potato Stocks Down 8 Percent from Last Year

The 13 major potato states held 154 million cwt. of potatoes in storage March 1, down 8 percent from last year and 7 percent below March 1, 2004, for comparable states, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Ohio and Pennsylvania were dropped from the potato stocks program starting with the 2005 storage season. Potatoes in storage account for 41 percent of the 2005 fall storage states' production, down 1 percent from last year.

Disappearance of 219 million cwt. from the start of harvest to March 1 is down 6 percent from last year for comparable states. Shrink and loss, at 20.1 million cwt., is down 18 percent from last year for comparable states.

Processors have used 115 million cwt. of 2005 crop potatoes so far this season, down 3 percent from a year ago and 5 percent below two years ago. Idaho and Malheur County, Oregon, total processing decreased 4 percent from a year ago and Washington and the rest of Oregon total processing dropped 5 percent from last season. Dehydrating usage accounts for 23.2 million cwt. of the total processing, down 11 percent from last year and the same date in 2004.

Western states held 113 million cwt. of potatoes in storage March 1, down 4 percent from last year. Both Idaho's and Colorado's potato stocks are down 14 percent from last year. California's stocks decreased 40 percent from 2005. Oregon's potato stocks are up 28 percent from last year, Montana's potato sheds stored 21 percent more than in 2005 and Washington's stocks increased 10 percent from last season.

Central states accounted for 31.2 million cwt. of potato stocks on March 1, down 21 percent from last year for comparable states. Wisconsin's potato stocks decreased 2 percent from last year, Minnesota's stocks are down 19 percent from 2005 and stocks in North Dakota are 49 percent below last season. Michigan potato stocks are unchanged from the same date in 2005.

Eastern states stored 10 million cwt. of potatoes on March 1, down 1 percent from last year for comparable states. Maine's potato sheds held 7 percent less than last year, while New York's potato stocks increased 86 percent from a year ago.

Originally posted Wednesday, Mar. 15, 2006

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