News September 2019

Lower yields, smaller size profile, but good quality seen for 2019 Idaho potato harvest

With the 2019 potato harvest under way as of August in the earlier fields, the Idaho Potato Commission is projecting that the state will harvest just under 309,000 acres of potatoes this year, down about 1 percent from a year ago, Rand Green of The Produce News reports.

“Significant weather issues” around planting time, including some late frosts, “have definitely had an impact, at least in some areas, on tuber size and yield,” said Frank Muir, president and chief executive officer of the commission. “We are obviously not going to have a huge bumper crop.”

“We are anticipating we will finish a little under 38 million hundredweight,” down just slightly from the year before, he said. The anticipated lower yield this year “will take us off of the current trend line of yields going north.”

However, he said there has been no indication that quality will be adversely affected by the early weather problems. With good quality and lower yields, and with the commission moving forward on its demand-building programs, “I think … this year’s pricing will be very strong for potato growers” with large potatoes in particular being a premium.

Kevin Stanger, president of Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC in Idaho Falls, told The Produce News that quality looks good, but yields are off a little in the early lots. With regard to size profile, he is seeing some lots running smaller than normal, but others that have normal sizing.

Read the full report by Rand Green of The Produce News here