Sep 13, 2005Summer Potato Production Forecast at Record Low
Production of summer potatoes is forecast at 16.1 million cwt. in 2005, down 1 percent from the July 1 forecast and 12 percent below the 2004 final estimate, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
If realized, this would be record-low production since the series began in 1949, 6 percent below the previous record low set in 1980. Harvested area is estimated at 48,300 acres, 800 acres below the July estimate and down 10 percent from last year, the previous record low. The average yield is forecast at 334 cwt. per acre, 3 cwt. above the July forecast but 6 cwt. below last year.
Yields are expected to be below last year in Alabama, California, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. In Alabama, inclement weather caused rotting and reduced yields. Late spring rains in California contributed to slow crop development and lower than normal yields. In Maryland and Delaware, crop quality is normal and harvest is underway. In New Jersey, sustained dry conditions in July and August resulted in smaller tuber size. Growing conditions in Colorado were hot and dry but with adequate irrigation water and harvest started on time.
In Missouri, harvest is complete in the southeast and is nearly so in the northwest. If the forecasted yield of 340 cwt. per acre is realized, it would equal the record-high yield set in 2001. In Texas, crop conditions have been good and harvest is winding down.
2004 Final Production
Production of 2004 fall potatoes is finalized at 410 million cwt., virtually unchanged from 2003 but 1 percent below the 2002 crop. Area harvested, at 1.02 million acres, is 6 percent below the previous year and down 8 percent from two years ago. The average yield was 401 cwt. per acre, up 25 cwt. from 2003 and 27 cwt. above 2002.
When compared with the annual estimates made last January, fall production was virtually unchanged. A larger crop in Colorado more than offset smaller crops in California, Maine and Rhode Island.
Final production of potatoes from all four seasons in 2004 totaled 456 million cwt., down less than 1 percent from both 2003 and 2002. Area harvested is estimated at 1.17 million acres, down 7 percent from a year earlier and 8 percent below 2002. The yield, averaging 391 cwt. per acre, increased 24 cwt. from 2003 and is 29 cwt. more than 2002. Winter production in 2004 increased 20 percent from 2003. Spring and summer production decreased 7 percent and 2 percent, respectively, from a year earlier. Fall potatoes were virtually unchanged in 2004 from the previous year.