Idaho Farmers Gearing up for Potato Harvest; Michigan Apple Shipping Outlook is Updated

Idaho Farmers Gearing up for Potato Harvest; Michigan Apple Shipping Outlook is Updated

DSCN9804Idaho farmers are ramping up to start harvesting potatoes soon.  Plus, an updated report on how Michigan apple shipments will be in the wake of that spring freeze.

The 2017 Idaho potato harvest commences with days coming off of 308,000 acres.  Over 700 farmers will be preparing to dig about 13 billion pounds of potatoes in a short six-week window.

This year’s crop, which will produce approximately one-third of all potatoes shipped in the United States, will contribute more than $4.5 billion to Idaho’s economy and provide more than 30,000 jobs.  Idaho potato shipments are easily the largest volume in the country.  Heres some more interesting facts:

When fall potatoes are harvested, approximately 62 percent will be used as processed products; 29 percent will be sold as fresh potatoes to retailers and foodservice operators; and 9 percent are grown for certified seed

  • More than 25 potato varieties are grown in Idaho
  • The average American eats about 113 pounds of potatoes each year
  • Idaho potatoes are certified by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy food
  • A 5.3-ounce potato provides 110 calories, 45 percent daily value of vitamin C, nearly twice the potassium of a banana, three grams of fiber, and are fat-, sodium-, cholesterol- and gluten-free.
  • The potato is the world’s fourth-largest food crop.
  • At a White House dinner in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson was the first person to serve French fries in the United States
  • New York consumes more Idaho potatoes than any other state, followed by Ohio, Florida and Texas
  • The first potato was grown in Peru between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago.

Michigan Apple Shipments

Following a hard frost on May 8-9 apple buds were damaged in certain Michigan production areas.  However, opinions vary on how much fresh apple shipments will be affected this season..

Still, the majority opinion sees volume at about 75 to 80 of normal.  In 2017 there was a huge crop that totaled 30 million bushels.  Another difference this season will be timing. Crops of 2015 and 2016 were about three weeks earlier than normal.  This season, the harvest and shipments will start on a more normal pattern, any day now with the Sweet Tango, Gala and McIntosh varieties.

The Ridge, which produces the majority of Michigan’s fresh apples, fared a little better, which is why the crop is not down more. The northern part of the state pretty much will have a full crop. Southern Michigan growers may be off 20 to 30 percent.