Pacific Northwest potato yield rates, production expected to dip for 2019
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service has begun releasing 2019 estimates for major potato-producing states in the Northern U.S.
The three-state Pacific Northwest collection of Idaho, Oregon and Washington accounts for about upwards of 60% of U.S. potato production annually. According to USDA-NASS projections, production in those three states will be down about 4% from 2018.
Idaho farmers were pushed early and late due to wet weather in the spring and an early hard frost. Additionally, there were some late freezes in the early growing season that delayed tuber development. This year’s yield-per-acre rate is estimated at 435 cwt per acre, whereas, it was 450 cwt an acre in 2018.
The aforementioned early hard freeze led to 2,000 of the 310,000 acres planted going unharvested. Idaho’s total projected crop tally is 133.98 million cwt, down from 141.75 million in 2018.
Growers in Washington got off to a late start in terms of planting because of late snow, but enjoyed “ideal” conditions most of the summer, said Washington State Potato Commission head Chris Voigt. Yield rates look to be down some — 615 cwt per acre versus 630 cwt per acre in 2018. However, an additional 5,000 acres planted this year to 65,000 total, has the overall crop projected to be slightly larger (101.48 million cwt) than a year (100.8 million cwt).
After a big year in terms of acres and production in 2018, numbers slid back this year. Oregon planted 3,000 fewer acres (42,000 total). That, coupled with a significantly lower yield-per-acre rate — 540, which is 60 lower than last year — has the total crop projected to be 22.68 million cwt, which is 16% lower than 2018’s total. Last year’s yield-per-acre rate was the largest in state history.
Idaho, Washington and Oregon ranked first, second and fourth, respectively, in potato production among U.S. states in 2018.