Florida tomato volume is rebounding as the recovery from Hurricane Irma continues. Meanwhile, double digit freights on potatoes from some states in the Western U.S. are occurring.
Florida tomato shipments remain much lighter than normal thanks to Hurricane Irma last fall, that is fixing to change. Volume is gradually coming back as the replantings mature, but it will be around Christmas or perhaps early January before volumes return to normal. Irma dumped a ton of water of some fields, so use caution loading. There’s a chance of bacterial and general quality problems with some product, until a little later in the season.
North American Potato Shipping Update
North American fall potato shipments in the most recent USDA update is pegged 505 million cwt. (per hundredweight), down 1 percent from last year. Canadian growers harvested 106 million cwt., up slightly from 2016, and U.S. growers are expected to produce 399 million cwt., down 2 percent from 2016. U.S. growers planted 906,500 acres, down from 923,800 in 2016, and harvested 900,600 acres, off from 909,600 in 2016.
Canadian growers planted 345,800 acres and harvested 342,200, both amounts similar to the previous crop. The USDA reported yields per acre at 443 cwt. for growers in the U.S. and at 309 cwt. for growers in Canada.
Potato shipments for Christmas are getting underway and truck rates from both Idaho and Colorado have increased 10 to 20 percent to many markets. Wisconsin, which has the lowest volume of the three states, is not experiencing volatility in rates. Idaho is shipping moving nearly 1700 truckload equivalents of spuds a week, although a significant amount of this is going by rail. Colorado is shipping around 750 truckloads per week, while Wisconsin is loading about 400 truckloads. The Columbia Basin and Umatilla Basin on the Washington/Oregon border has similar volume (about 350 loads) to Colorado and rates have generally went up 10 to 15 percent recently.
Twin Falls area Idaho potatoes – grossing about $6300 to New York City.
San Luis Valley Colorado potatoes – grossing about $2000 to Dallas.
Stevens Point, Wisconsin area potatoes – grossing about $3300 to Atlanta.
Washington’s Columbian Basin potatoes – grossing bout $5100 to Chicago.