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May Potato Stocks Down 17 Percent from 2005

The 13 major potato states held 73 million cwt. of potatoes in storage May 1, down 17 percent from last year and 14 percent below May 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 20 percent of the 2005 fall storage states’ production, down 2 percent from last year.

Disappearance of 300 million cwt. from the start of harvest to May 1 is down 4 percent from last year for comparable states. Shrink and loss, at 23.2 million cwt., is down 21 percent from last year.

Processors have used 150 million cwt. of 2005 crop potatoes so far this season, down 2 percent from a year ago and 3 percent below two years ago. Idaho and Malheur County, Ore., total processing decreased 2 percent from a year ago, and Washington and the rest of Oregon total processing dropped 3 percent from last season. Dehydrating usage accounts for 30.8 million cwt. of the total processing, down 8 percent from last year and 11 percent below the same date in 2004.

Comparisons by region will not be made in this narrative to avoid disclosure of individual operations. Comparisons for individual states are as follows.

Idaho’s potato stocks are down 22 percent from last year, while Maine’s sheds held 8 percent less than last year and Colorado’s stocks dropped 28 percent from last season. Stocks in Wisconsin decreased 3 percent from 2005. North Dakota’s potato stocks dropped 61 percent from last year, while Minnesota’s stocks are 47 percent below last year and California’s potato sheds held 20 percent less than in 2005. Montana, Nebraska and New York’s combined potato stocks decreased 18 percent from last year. Michigan potato stocks were unchanged from the same date in 2005. Washington and Oregon are the only states where potato stocks have increased from the same date in 2005, with stocks up 10 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

Originally posted Tuesday, May. 16, 2006

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