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Fall Potato Acreage Up 2 Percent from 2005

Area planted to fall potatoes for 2006 is estimated at 990,500 acres, up 2 percent from last year but 5 percent below 2004, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Harvested acres are forecast at 974,400, up 3 percent from 2005 but 5 percent below two years ago. This increase is due in part to low ending stocks and higher prices.

Western states’ potato area is estimated at 610,700 acres planted this year, up 1 percent from last year but 5 percent below 2004. Crop condition in the western states is mostly good to excellent. Idaho growers increased their planted acreage 2 percent from last year. The crop progress in Idaho is ahead of the five-year average. Washington producers planted 1 percent more than a year ago. Colorado growers increased acreage 3 percent this year. California's fall potato acres are up 8 percent, Nevada's acres increased 18 percent and New Mexico growers planted 6 percent more acres. Planted acres in Oregon dropped 6 percent and Montana producers decreased acreage 5 percent.

Central states planted an estimated 285,800 acres of fall potatoes this year, up 5 percent from last year but 2 percent below two years ago. Planting progressed normally in most central states, with the crop in good condition. North Dakota's planted acreage increased 9 percent. Plant development is ahead of average due in part to favorable temperatures. Planted acres increased 13 percent in Minnesota from a year ago. Michigan and Nebraska growers planted the same number of acres as last year. Wisconsin producers decreased acres 1 percent from last year and Ohio's planted acres are down 11 percent.

Eastern state growers have planted an estimated 94,000 acres of fall potatoes this year, up 2 percent from last year but 5 percent below the 2004 acreage. Maine's planted acreage is estimated at 59,000 acres, up 3 percent from last year. Growers in Massachusetts planted 16 percent more acres than 2005, while acreage in Pennsylvania decreased 4 percent. New York planted area is up less than 1 percent, while Rhode Island's planted acreage is unchanged from 2005. In the New England states, warm, dry weather early in the season allowed most of the crop to be planted before heavy rains arrived in mid-May. The rest of the crop was planted late May to early June.

Originally posted Thursday, Jul. 13, 2006

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