Oct 18, 2004
Total 2003 Potato Production Down from 2002

Total 2003 potato production is estimated at 458 million cwt., less than 1 percent below the estimate made in the Annual Crop Summary in January and down fractionally from the 2002 crop, according to the USDA’s September crop summary. Harvested area, at 1.25 million acres, decreased 1 percent from a year ago. The average yield of 367 cwt. per acre is up 5 cwt. from 2002 and 9 cwt. above the average yield from the 2001 crop. By season, winter production decreased 4 percent, spring rose 9 percent, summer went up 5 percent and fall fell 1 percent from the previous year.

Winter and spring seasonal estimates are carried forward from earlier revisions. Summer potato production is revised to 18.8 million cwt. for 2003, up 5 percent from 2002. Harvested area, at 58,700 acres, is down less than 1 percent from the previous year. The average yield of 320 cwt. per acre is 16 cwt. above the previous year.

Fall potatoes are finalized at 411 million cwt. for 2003, down 1 percent from the 2002 crop. Area harvested in 2003 is estimated at 1.09 million acres, down 1 percent from a year earlier. The average yield, at 376 cwt. per acre, is up 2 cwt. from a year earlier. Final production of fall potatoes is virtually unchanged from the Annual Crop Summary in January.

Value of all potatoes sold in 2003 is estimated at $2.46 billion, down 13 percent from the previous year. The average price, at $5.89 per cwt., went down 78 cents from a year earlier. Sales from the 2003 potato crop totaled 417 million cwt., down 1 percent from 2002. Sales accounted for 91 percent of 2003 production. Nonsales accounted for 40.8 million cwt., 12 percent above the previous year. Over the past five years, 91 percent of the potatoes grown have been sold. The other 9 percent were either lost (shrinkage and loss) or used on farms where grown (seed, home use and livestock feed).

Processors used 257 million cwt. of raw potatoes from the 2003 crop, down 2 percent from a year earlier. Table stock sales totaled 135 million cwt., 3 percent above the previous year. Seed sales of 22.4 million cwt. are down 7 percent. Sales for livestock feed, at 2.01 million cwt., are down 34 percent from a year earlier.

Potatoes used for chips and shoestrings totaled 52.8 million cwt. in 2003, up 2 percent from the previous year. Frozen french fries and other frozen products utilized 150 million cwt. of raw potatoes, down 2 percent.

Potatoes used for dehydrating totaled 48.4 million cwt., a decrease of 6 percent. Canning use, at 4.81 million cwt., fell 1 percent. Starch, flour and other products were made from 879,000 cwt. of potatoes, 16 percent below the previous year.

Shrinkage and loss is estimated at 35.3 million cwt. for 2003, up 14 percent from 2002. Potatoes used for livestock feed on farms where grown and home use totaled 1.54 million cwt., 4 percent above the previous season. Growers kept 4 million cwt. for seed on their own farms, down 3 percent from a year earlier

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