Nov 20, 2016
USDA-NASS estimates ND production down 28 percent

USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is estimating only 64,000 out of 80,000 planted potato acres in North Dakota will be harvested. Potato production is forecast at 19.8 million hundredweight (cwt.), down 28 percent from last year. NASS estimates the average yield in the state at 310 cwt. per acre, down 35 cwt. from last year.

If accurate this would be the smallest North Dakota potato crop in five years however accuracy of the USDA estimate is in question. Bruce Huffaker, editor of North American Potato Market news sites several reason he believes the estimate might be as much as 4 million cwt. to low. Most of the acres lost were in northeast North Dakota on non-irrigated land. The state’s processing crop which yields much higher was largely unaffected by heavy rains. Huffaker also noted that there were some much above average yields on non-irrigated fields that were not drown out.

Whichever estimate you trust, the 2016 crop will be far less than 2015 when 27.6 million cwt. of potatoes were produced.

NASS forecasts potato production in Minnesota at 17.6 million hundredweight (cwt), up 9 percent from 2015 according to the latest NASS Crop Production report. Yield is forecast at 420 cwt per acre, with an expected 42,000 acres harvested. This would be a 2,000 acre increase in Minnesota, which Huffaker questions after NASS has had trouble estimating Minnesota potato acreage the past two years.

— Ted Kreis, Northern Plains Potato Growers Association

Source: NPPGA Potato Bytes

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