Posts Tagged “Idaho”

Northwest Produce Shipments are Significant

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IMG_6909Northwest cherry growers expect a 2013 crop of 18 million boxes to be shipped, well short of last year’s record 23 million boxes.

Shippers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah released their crop estimate last week.  Washington is the largest shipper fresh cherries, with an expected crop of 14 million boxes.  A box of cherries weighs 20 pounds.

Shipment of cherries should get underway in early June around the Columbia River, with peak loadings taking place in the Northwest prior to the Fourth of July.

Northwest cherry shipments are expected to be similar to 2011 when the five states shipped about 18 million boxes.


Before the 2012-13 Washington state apple shipping season ends in July or August, 132,245,000 truckload equivalents of apples should have been hauled.  Sure, some of that fruit will go by rail, but it is trucks carrying the bulk of the loads.

On average, the Yakima and Wentachee Valleys are currently shipping about 3,000 truckload equivalents of apples each week.

Potatoes continue to be a big mover, especially out of Idaho, which has more russet potatoes this season than it knows what to do with.  Idaho is loading around 1,800 truckload equivlents of spuds each week.

Washington’s Columbia Basin and the adjacent Umitilla Basin in Oregon are providing loads of potatoes and onions.  However, both spuds and onions combined, do not come even near the volume of potatoes being shipped out of Idaho.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $3500 to Cleveland.

Washington apples – about $6300 to Orlando.



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Best Bets for Produce Loads in the Western States

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Talking with a hauler of oversized loads and he was lamenting how rates on the moving the big stuff has dropped in recent weeks.  Well, the same holds true for loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, although this is fairly predictable this time of the year when total praoduce volume across the country is much lower than during it’s summer peak.

Still, if you haul perishables, the western states are the place to be doing it — especially with this being the last full week before Christmas.

Washington state apples continue to be shipped in record amounts with about 3,200 truckload equivalents being loaded per week from the Yakima and Wenatchee valleys…..A little further south in Washington’s Columbia Basin and the nearby Umatilla Basin in Oregon, both potatoes and onions are being shipped, although in much lesser volume than with Washington’s apples.

The Columbia and Umatilla basins are loading about 400 truckloads of potatoes and around 750 truckloads of onions  per week.

The Yuma district in Arizona is likely your best bet when it comes to winter vegetables.  This desert area is shipping Iceberg lettuce, romaine, broccoli and cauliflower, among other items.  Between these four veggies, the total truck loads are around 2,500 of per week.

Idaho potatoes are another big mover from the Western states.  There are about 1,750 truckload equivalents of spuds being shipped on a weekly basis.  The state needs to sell a lot of potatoes to pay for their sponsorship and ads related to the recent Famous Idaho Potato Bowl!



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Potato Loads, Georgia Veggies and Imported Grapes

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USA potato loads will be up eight percent over a year ago when this season ends around August.  The 991,500 acres of spuds is six percent more than athe previous season.  Of course, Idaho shipments easily lead all other states, but there are significant loadings available in Washington state, Oregon, Wisconsin, the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, among others.

Idaho is shipping about 1750 truckload equivalents of potatoes per week, although a greater percentage is shipped by rail than most other spud production areas….By contrast, Colorado’s San Luis Valley is moving about 1000 loads per week, all by truck.

Southeastern Greens

Central and southern areas of Georgia are loading  collards, kale, mustard and turnip tops for the holidays.  Loads of greens should continue from Georgia into March or April, depending on the weather.  Broccoli also is being shipped.

Chilean Imported Grapes

While Chilean grapes are starting to  arrive in the USA anytime now, it will be late January before good volume and loading opportunities are available at USA ports.   Grapes arriving at such ports as Wilmington, NC; Philadelphia, and Long Beach, CA are shipped throughout the states and into Canada, with volume expected to top last year.

Georgia vegetables – grossing about $2800 to Boston.

Idaho potatoes – about $5400 to New York

Colorado potatoes – about $2000 to San Antonio.


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Fall Produce Shipments in the Western Half of the USA

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Here’s a look at available fresh produce loads in the Western half of the USA where volume is primarily steady, or increasing.

In South Texas, avocados from Mexico are providing  over 600 truckload equivalents per week and the volume will be increasing in the weeks ahead….South Texas grapefruit loadings are very light, but have started, and will hit good volume around mid- November….In West Texas in the Hereford area, as well as in nearby Eastern New Mexico, there is light volume with potatoes.

Looking at  the San Luis Valley of south-central Colorado, about 500 truckloads of russett potatoes are being shipped weekly.

Idaho has another huge crop of russet potatoes.  While the railroads move a significant amount of the state’s spuds, the majority of the volume still is shipped by truck.  Nearly 1,700 truckload equivalents of potatoes are providing loads on a weekly basis.

California’s San Joaquin Valley is shipping everything from grapes to carrots and tomatoes, among other items.  Over 2,000 truckloads of grapes are being shipped weekly from vineyards spread between the Bakersfield area  to Merced.   Decent volume with tomatoes also are available, but a seasonal decline will continue in coming weeks.

In Washington state, apples from the Yakima and Wenatchee valleys may be providing the single largest amounts of fruit volume in the country.  A huge apple crop is averaging about 2,500 truckload equipments on a weekly basis.



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Maine Potato Hauling Opportunities Should Be Better This Season

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Potato haulers should find the quality of Maine’s potato crop this year to be the best in a number of years. Last year, growers were plagued with too much water and a disease known as blight.

The Maine potato harvest was recently completed, which is always a race against finishing before the first hard freeze, which damage spuds remaining in the ground.  The majority of the state’s spuds are shipped throughout New England, the northeast and as far south as the mid-Atlantic states.

55,000 acres of Maine potatoes were harvested this year.  This is small in comparison the nation’s biggest shipper.  Idaho has increased its acreage by 25,000 every year for the past several years. This year, the state is reporting 345,000 acres. In 2011, it planted 320,000, and in 2010 it had 295,000 acres.

Idaho has increased in just two years the equivalent of the entire state of Maine’s production.

By comparison, Wisconsin has 63,000 acres, Colorado  and Maine are at 55,000, Minnesota 51,000, Michigan at 46,000, Oregon has 41,000, and New York 17,000 acres.

Added together, these states tally 332,000 acres, 13,000 less than Idaho alone produces.

Most of Maine’s potatoes are grown and shipped from Aroostock County, the state’s largest county.  It is the northern most county in the state and has a population of 71,482 as of 2011.  In the Native American language it means “beautiful language” and is aptly nicknamed The Crown of Maine, in part because of its location.

The potato is northern Maine’s primary agricultural product and in the 1940s Maine’s potato production was tops in the nation. By 1994 however, Maine had fallen to the eighth ranked potato producer and the seventh in the number of acres devoted to potato cultivation in the United States.

The number of acres of farm land devoted to potatoes has decreased in recent years because of rotational crops, conservation and fewer farmers. However, in the year 2000, Maine grew 63,000 acres of potatoes and nearly 90 percent of that was in Aroostook County.

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Western Potato and Onion Shipments Increasing

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Potatoes and onions, commonly known as “hardware items” because they are less perishable and generally pose fewer problems when hauling, also normally do not pay as good a freight as most more perishable items.  However, the further into fall and the closer to winter, overall fresh fruit and vegetable volume declines, and so do freight rates — and loading opportunties.  Therefore, if nothing more than out of necessity potatoes and onions begin looking more attractive if you want or need  to haul produce.

Oregon Onions

In the Snake River area of Oregon there is good demand heading into winter for trucks. An early start of the shipping season combined with fewer onions means less product is left for shipping than normal.   Truck loads could be down 15-20% for Treasure Valley growers, due to the fourth-hottest summer on record and other weather-related issues.   Fewer onions  mean shippers are having less difficulty finding enough trucks to move product.

Idaho-Oregon Onions

Around the border area of Western Idaho and Malheur County, OR, nearly 700 truckloads of storage onions are being shipped weekly.

Washington-Oregon Onions and Potatoes

Similar volume with onion shipments are available from the border area of the Columbia Basin in Washington and the Umatilla Basin of Oregon.   In Northwest Washington, just north of Seattle is light volume with red and white potatoes from the Skagit Valley.

Idaho Potatoes

The nation’s largest volume potato shipper has another huge crop this year.  The state is averaging around 1500 truck load equivalents per week, although a significant amount of these potatoes are loaded in rail cars.

Colorado Potatoes and Onions

Storage onions are being shipped from Colorado’s Western Slope, near Olathe, and will continue well into January.  Excellent quality is reported.  Loads have been moving out of the area at a brisk pace in part because of Colorado’s freight advantage over western shippers….In south-central Colorado is the San Luis Valley, which is shipping around 750 truck loads of spuds per week.

Colorado potatoes – grossing about $1800 to Dallas.

Idaho potatoes – about $5500 to New York City.

Columbia Basin/Umatilla Basin (Washington and Oregon) potatoes and onions – about $4200 to Chicago.

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Big Idaho Potato Truck is Touring the USA

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A huge Idaho potato on a flat-bed truck is once again hitting the road this year as part of the Idaho Potato Commission’s (IPC) television advertising campaign.

The Kenworth is pulling a giant tator that weighs 12,130 pounds, which the IPC claims equals 32,346 medium sized potatoes.

Additionally, the famous fitness guru  Denise Austin will once again be the celebrity spokesperson for Idaho potatoes.

The  IPC big Idaho potato truck, on its seven-month national tour will conclude its trip just in time for the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA)annual convention and trade show in Anaheim, CA late October.

The IPC’s new ad campaign premiered on national television on ESPN during the recent Boise State vs. Michigan State game (MSU won 17-13).

The IPC ad program will be on national cable television beginning in mid-October” and continuing through February. the campaign will be carried on a variety of news programs such ase CNN and FOX News, as well as the Food Network, The Cooking Channel, HGTV, and The History Chanel among others.

By the end of the tour, the truck will have travelled over 15,000 miles, visited some 150 cities in 35 states across the country

In other activities, Denise Austin “will be doing two different public service radio announcements” for the commission.

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Plenty of Idaho Potato Loads are Seen

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Produce haulers found plenty of potatoes for hauling out of Idaho last year (season) and this time around there will be even more, if predictions hold true.

The nation’s biggest shipper of potatoes expects to have a volume for the 2012-13 shipping season that is 8 percent more than a year ago.  Nationally, 5 percent more spuds are forecast to be shipped.

Idaho has a whopping 345,000 acres of potatoes planted.  It’s true that the early variety norkotah russets harvest has been underway about a month.  However, the tale of how many loads will be available this season comes with the main variety from Idaho, the russet burbanks.  Still, with 25,000 more acres of spuds in the grown this year, Idaho most likely will have a huge amount of shipments.

Of course, not all of these loads will be by truck.  Potatoes are a prime candiate for rail shipments every year – and the railroads do haul a significant amount, particularly out of Idaho.

Nationwide,  total planted acreage is estimated at 1.15 million. The figure includes plantings from all four season, with fall plantings being about 1 million acres alone.

The actual potato volume for the fall season will have a better handle come November 9th when The USDA will issue a new crop estimate. 

A primary threat to a reduction in loading opportunities is if an early, hard frost or snow hits the Idaho farming areas.  This could damage potato crops.  Thus, farmers will be harvesting quickly as possible through October to beat cold weather.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $4300 to Atlanta; $5500 to New York.


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Potato, Onion Rates will Appear More Attractive Soon

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Most fruit and vegetable rates are paying significantly more than rates on potatoes and onions right now, but the difference in rates will be shrinking in the next several weeks as overall fruit and veggie volume seasonally declines and the spud and onion volume rises with the new crops.

There is over 1 million acres of potatoes planted in the USA for the crop that is now  being harvested.  That is 46,000 more acres than at this time a year ago!  Translation:  There’s a huge crop that will need to be transported to market – and the railroads can only haul a relatively small amount of it.  That means plenty of hauling opportunties this fall, winter and next spring for truckers with refrigerated equipment. 

The top nine states with the most potatoes in order of size are:  Idaho, Washington, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan and Oregon.

Idaho, the USA’s biggest potato producer,  will have a lot more potatoes for hauling this season.

Potato shipments from Washington and Oregon get underway in early August, with volume expected to be normal and about the same as a year ago.  Washington has about 25,000 acres of spuds for the fresh market.  The Umatilla-Hermiston potato volume may be down a little from last season.  No big deal though.

In central Wisconsin, red, white, yellow and russet potato diggings have been underway and shipments begin when the old crop is all sold, or customers begin demanding fresh potatoes from the new season, over the old ones which have been in storages forever.  The spuds becoming available will be more abundant than on average from the past five years.


Helping Western onion shipments was the early demise of the Vidalia, GA onion season.  It has created bigger demand for onions in the West and demand for trucks from places such as Bakersfield, CA and from Southern New Mexico and the Pasco area of Washington state.  Also, imported onions from Peru will begin arriving at USA ports in early August.

Idaho potatoes are grossing – about $4800 to New York City’s Hunts Point.






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Nationally Produce Rates are Remaining Relatively Steady

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Since a significant rise in early June of rates for hauling fresh produce from some major shipping areas — particuarly the west coast, it has been a pretty quiet summer as rates have remained relatively stable, and few serious truck shortages have occurred.

While some produce items may have record shipments this year, such as California grapes and Washington state cherries, other areas ranging from Michigan fruit to South Texas vegetables, as well as California stone fruit, have taken some hits from the weather.  I’m sure there may be other factors involved ranging from more contract rates, which tend to provide more rate stability on a seasonal, if not a year around basis.  The struggling economy, with a lot of pitfully low rates for dry freight, may have more carriers seeking higher paying produce loads, particularly this time of the year.

Nationally, here’s a glimpse at loading opportunities for fresh fruits and vegetables.

South Carolina peaches are still being shipped , primarily in an area located south and southeast of Columbia stretching to the Georgia state line.  Speaking of Georgia, peach loadings are on their last leg and should be finished within a week as the latter part of the season had exceptionally light production.  South Carolina won’t be far behind.

In South Texas, various citrus, tropical fruits and vegetables from Mexico continue crossing the border into the Lone Star State.  They join lesser amounts of produce grown and shipped from the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Southern New Mexico continues to ship onions…..In Michigan, blueberries and various vegetables such as cucumbers and squash are providing loads. 

In Idaho, the country’s largest potato shipper continues to provide hauls from the 2011-12 harvest.  New product should become available for hauling next month.

In the Columbia Basin of Washington state, potato and onion loads remain available.  An excellent crop of sweet cherries are now coming out of Washington’s Yakima and Wenachee valleys, along with late season apples.  Shipments of Washington pears are virtually finished.

In California, the vast majority of produce shipments are now coming from shipping areas north of Interstate 10.

Salinas Valley vegetables are generally grossing – about $7700 to New York City.

Washington states potatoes and onions from the Columbia Basin – about $3000 to Chicago.

South Carolina peaches – about $3400 to Boston.

Georgia peaches – $3300 to New York City.





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