News April 2019

Canada: Manitoba’s potato sector not stressing on seed, despite tight supplies

Manitoba Co-operator reports that Manitoba’s potato sector is gearing up to supply an expanding industry but seed supplies will be tight after a tough harvest last season.

J.R. Simplot’s $460-million expansion of its Portage la Prairie plant is expected to double the operation’s need for tubers when it comes online this fall.

Why it matters: Manitoba’s potato sector is in line for expansion with a major processing boost waiting in the wings, but the sector also faces tight seed potato supplies after a tough fall. Last fall excess moisture and frost resulted in an unprecedented number of unharvested acres, but industry representatives say there should still be enough seed to go around.

Leonard Rossnagel, retired potato agronomist and former director with the Seed Potato Growers Association of Manitoba, told the Manitoba Co-operator the industry has already planned for tight seed potato supplies.

“Because potato growers knew of the difficulties with last fall’s harvest on their own farms and, knowing that a lot of seed potatoes are grown in the province and could experience some of the same issues, they were cognizant of the fact that seed would be in short supply and secured their seed needs early,” he said.

Read the full report in Manitoba Co-operator here. Reporter: Alexis Stockford