Feb 15, 2006
February Potato Stocks Down 7 Percent

The 13 major potato states held 188 million cwt. of potatoes in storage Feb. 1, down 7 percent from last year and 6 percent below Feb. 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 50 percent of the 2005 fall storage states’ production, unchanged from last year. Stocks by type were 2 percent red, 9 percent round white, 2 percent long white (Shepody), and 87 percent russets, with a smaller percentage of reds and round whites but a larger percentage of russets than a year ago for comparable states.

Disappearance of 185 million cwt. from the start of harvest to Feb. 1 is down 6 percent from last year for comparable states. Shrink and loss, at 18.1 million cwt., is down 17 percent from last year for comparable states.

Processors have used 96.5 million cwt. of 2005 crop potatoes so far this season, down 4 percent from a year ago and 6 percent below 2 years ago. Idaho and Malheur County, Oregon, total processing decreased 3 percent from a year ago and Washington and the rest of Oregon total processing dropped 7 percent from last season. Dehydrating usage accounts for 19.5 million cwt. of the total processing, down 11 percent from both last year and the same date in 2004.

Western states held 136 million cwt. of potatoes in storage on Feb.1, down 4 percent from last year. Both Idaho’s and Colorado’s potato stocks are down 13 percent from last year. Montana’s potato sheds stored 1 percent less than in 2005 and California’s stocks decreased 39 percent from last year. Oregon’s potato stocks are up 23 percent from last year and Washington’s potato sheds stored 10 percent more than last season.

Central states accounted for 40.1 million cwt. of potato stocks on Feb. 1, down 17 percent from last year for comparable states. Wisconsin’s potato stocks decreased 4 percent from last year, Minnesota’s stocks are down 12 percent from 2005, and stocks in North Dakota are 41 percent below Feb.1, 2005. Michigan potato sheds stored 6 percent more than last year.

Eastern states stored 11.7 million cwt. of potatoes on Feb. 1, down 5 percent from last year for comparable states. Maine’s potato sheds held 10 percent less than last year, while New York’s potato stocks increased 42 percent from a year ago.

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