United States Department of Agriculture-National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-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 per cent 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 the accuracy of the USDA estimate is in question. Bruce Huffaker, editor of North American Potato Market news, cites several reasons he believes the estimate might be as much as 4 million cwt. too 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 there were some much above-average yields on non-irrigated fields that were not drowned out.
Minnesota Potato Production Up Nine Percent?
Potato production in Minnesota is at 17.6 million hundredweight (cwt.), up nine per cent from 2015, according to the latest USDA-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.
Source: Northern Plains Potato Growers Association