US: Report shows lower Northwest spud production

Potatoes are transloaded following harvest in Eastern Idaho on Sept. 11. A new USDA report shows Idaho potato production was down nearly 8 million hundredweight this season.Potato production was down throughout the Pacific Northwest during 2017, driven by acreage reductions in Idaho and lower yields in Washington and Oregon, according to a Nov. 9 USDA report. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated Idaho’s 2017 potato production at 131.325 million hundredweight, down nearly 8 million hundredweight from the 2016 harvest. Idaho’s average yield, estimated at 425 hundredweight per acre, was down by 5 hundredweight from the previous year. But the state’s growers also planted 15,000 fewer acres this season, with total 2017 planting estimated at 310,000 acres. Many in the Idaho potato industry, however, believe USDA’s statewide yield estimate was inflated. Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir described the USDA yield estimate for his state as “optimistic” and said United Potato Growers of Idaho’s estimates have come in much lower. Muir added that demand is strong and IPC’s programs will further drive sales. Total fall potato production in the U.S. was about 399 million hundredweight, down almost 8 million hundredweight. More