With good growing weather, Colorado’s San Luis Valley potato industry is expecting good shipments with volume repeating that of a year ago.
The valley has around 52,000 acres of potatoes planted for this season. There has been an increase in organic potato acreage.
Farm Fresh Direct of Monte Vista, CO reports solid growing conditions this season with decent weather to produce potatoes. While the volume on conventional potato shipments is about the same, the company reports organic volume should see a slight increase. It began digging russet potatoes the week of August 27, which followed the new crop of organic reds and yellows the week of August 20th.
A similar report came from Rocky Farms of Center, CO, which described the past summer as being ideal for growing potatoes.
Rocky Farms began shipping a limited amount of spuds the week of September 3rd and began loading in larger volumes October 1st, on a similar schedule with previous years.
At Skyline Potato Co. of Center, CO, also had a normal start to the season with fields producing good quality potatoes.
While San Luis Valley potato growers most often mention water as the primary issue (could use more), there also were concerns over increasing freight rates and labor issues. Freight rates were expected to continue increasing as the holidays approach. Colorado implemented minimum wage increases that continue through 2020.
Truck shortages were cited as a common problem and no one was expecting any decline in freight rates. With a roaring economy, labor was not expected to get any better. As a result, the industry continues to look more to automation.
Idaho continues to lead the nation in potato shipments with over 40 percent of the total volume. Colorado potato shipments rank second, while Wisconsin ranks third. In fourth place is the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota.
Colorado potatoes – grossing about $3400 to Atlanta.