Nov 10, 2005
Fall Potato Production Down 7 Percent from 2004

Production of fall potatoes for 2005 is forecast at 382 million cwt., down 7 percent from 2004, according to USDA. Area harvested, at 951,800 acres, is virtually unchanged from the July forecast but 7 percent below last year. The average yield is forecast at a record high 402 cwt. per acre, 1 cwt. above the previous high set last year.

Western states’ production is forecast at 268 million cwt., down 5 percent from last year. Acreage harvested, at 600,900 acres, decreased 6 percent from last year but the average yield of 445 cwt. per acre is up 7 cwt. from 2004. Growing conditions throughout the Western states were generally favorable. Idaho’s total potato forecast, at 117 million cwt., is 11 percent below last year and the lowest since 1989. Planted and harvested acres in Idaho are the lowest since 1989. Yield in Washington is forecast at 620 cwt. per acre, 30 cwt. above last year. If realized, this will be a record high yield, exceeding the previous record established in 2000 by 20 cwt. Production, at 95.5 million cwt., is 2 percent above last year. Colorado’s production is expected to decrease 6 percent from 2004 but yields are up 15 cwt. per acre. A long growing season and adequate irrigation water allowed potatoes to size larger. Oregon’s production is forecast to be up 9 percent due to the record high yield of 584 cwt. per acre, 41 cwt. above the previous record established in 2000. In Montana, production is expected to be down 3 percent but the crop quality is reported to be good. In California, production is forecast down 11 percent. Cool weather in late spring and early summer led to smaller potatoes and lower yields. Nevada growers expect a 19 percent decrease in production. New Mexico’s production is expected to be up 23 percent from last year. This increase is due to the inclusion of summer potatoes into New Mexico’s fall potato forecast in 2005. The all potato production forecast for New Mexico is up only 3 percent from last season.

Central states’ production is forecast at 90.1 million cwt., down 11 percent from last year. Harvested area, estimated at 260,400 acres, is down 9 percent, while average yields, at 346 cwt. per acre, are down 9 cwt. from a year ago. Michigan, with production up 5 percent from last year, is the only state in the Central region where an increase in production is expected. The other five states, when compared with last season, expect decreases in production ranging from 5 percent in Wisconsin to 23 percent in North Dakota. Michigan’s increase is due to a 4 percent jump in harvested acres and a 5 cwt. increase in yield. Wisconsin growers expect a 20 cwt. per acre decrease in yield due to fewer potatoes per hill. North Dakota’s production decrease is due, in part, to a 19 percent reduction in harvested acres. Flooding in the major potato-producing region caused growers to abandon more acreage than normal. Yields also are expected to be down from last year. Minnesota production is forecast 8 percent below last year. In Nebraska, production is expected to be down 15 percent. Ohio production is expected to be 17 percent below last year due to a 50 cwt. per acre decrease in yield.

Eastern states’ production is forecast at 24.5 million cwt., down 12 percent from last year. Area for harvest totaled 90,500 acres, 4 percent below last year, while the average yield, at 271 cwt. per acre, is down 23 cwt. from last season. Drought conditions during the summer in Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island reduced yields. Heavy rains late in the season drowned out fields in low-lying areas for all Eastern states. A 17 percent decrease in production is expected in Maine and 22 percent in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. New York growers expect a 1 percent increase in production and a 4 percent increase is expected in Pennsylvania.

Total U. S. potato production in 2005 from all four seasons is estimated at 421 million cwt., down 8 percent from last year. Harvested area, at 1.08 million acres, decreased 7 percent from a year ago. Yields, averaging 389 cwt. per acre, are down 2 cwt. from last year.

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