Posts Tagged “North Carolina sweet potato shipments”

North Carolina Sweet Potato Harvest Winding Down with More Focus Now on Shipping

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North Carolina’s sweet potato harvest season is nearing completion with fresh pricing up substantially compared with a year ago.

The transition between old-crop and new-crop sweet potatoes was apparently lending support to pricing in early September. Harvest in North Carolina should continue to be active into November, and prices should ease with expanding supply and shipments.

USDA shipment statistics indicated that North Carolina accounted for two-thirds of total U.S fresh sweet potato shipments of 272 (40,000 truckloads) for the week ending Sept. 17

As of Sept. 3, the average fob price for U.S. fresh sweet potatoes was $60.56 per cwt (hundredweight), up 20.6% compared with the same time a year ago, according to numbers collected by the USDA. The Sept. 3 fob price of for sweet potatoes of $60.56 per cwt was nearly 30% higher than the $46.70 per cwt price in early August.

The USDA reported the average advertised retail price for fresh sweet potatoes was 94 cents per pound, down 8.7% from the same week a year ago.

Corey Produce of Bethel, N.C. reports increased moisture this year, should result in a slightly bigger sweet potato crop in 2022.

The company grows sweet potatoes in Martin, Pitt and  Edgecombe counties in North Carolina, with its packinghouse located in Bethel N.C..

The company report this year’s crop looks a little better than last year’s crop, because last year was extremely dry in Martin County.

Corey Produce acreage is about the same as last year.

The operation began harvest September 12 and will be finishing harvest any day now.

Lancaster Farms of Wilson, N.C.-based reports a strong, quality sweet potato harvest. While acreage for the company is down, yields may be up 10%.

R.B. Lancaster and Sons Inc. family has lived and farmed in Wilson County, N.C., and the surrounding counties for seven generations, since the late 1700s.

The company has a four-year crop rotation, farming between 1,400 and 1,800 acres annually.

Harvest for Lancaster Farms started harvest Aug. 26 for early plantings and began harvest again Sept. 16, and wrapped up the harvest expected in late October.

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North Carolina Accounts for Vast Majority of Sweet Potato Shipments

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Although North Carolina sweet potato shipments made up a smaller percent of national loadings this past season, it still accounted for 70 percent of the total volume of U.S. sweet potato shipments, which was down slightly from 73 percent in 2017 and the same in 2016.

USDA shipment statistics show that fresh shipments of sweet potatoes from North Carolina totaled 662.5 million pounds in 2018, down 10 percent from 736.8 million pounds in 2017 and down 4.4 percent compared with 692.4 million pounds in 2016.

As a percent of annual shipments, the USDA said top shipment months of North Carolina sweet potatoes in 2018 were:

  • March: 12.6 percent;
  • November: 9.6 percent:
  • April: 9.6 percent; and
  • January: 9.4 percent.

Some of the leading North Carolina sweet potato shippers are: Ham Produce, Snow Hill; Nash Produce, Nashville; Jackson Farming, Autryville; and Vick Family Farms Partnership, Wilson.

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Amount of NC Sweet Potato Shipments this Season Still a Big Question

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DSCN2698This big question is still what will be the precise amount of damage caused to the North Carolina sweet potato crop by Hurricane Florence and the remnants of tropical storm Michael.  It will take at the least weeks, if not months, and perhaps even until next spring.

Many growers saw double-digit rainfall amounts dumped on their fields from Hurricane Florence September 10-11.   If that wasn’t bad enough, Michael dumped another three to four inches of rain on fields a month later.

It is simply too soon to tell how the excess water will affect the sweet potatoes when packing begins.  On the positive side, there is optimism regarding the quality of the crop that had been harvested prior Michael hitting.

Michael hit North Carolina on October 12 and most growers are believed to have harvested 80 percent of the crop.  The sweet potato fields have since dried and harvest should be completed in November, or when the first hard frost occurs.

A primary concern now is related to disease.  Although it hasn’t shown up thus far, it could be a problem after the sweet potatoes are put in storage for at least a couple of months. In fact, watching for disease in storage will continue until next spring.

Nash Produce LLC of Nashville, NC knows their will be crop damage, but just how much is the question.  At this point Nash Produce is reporting no problem with sweet potatoes.

As of October 13th, season-to-date North Carolina sweet potato shipments totaled 14.9 million pounds, down from 43.2 million pounds the same time a year ago.

North Carolina sweet potato farms did not plant as many sweet potatoes this year due to low prices last season.

The USDA reports U.S. sweet potato acreage planted in 2018 is 157,200 acres, compared to 159,300 acres a year ago.  However, no estimate from the USDA has been released yet.

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NC Sweet Potato Shipments will Suffer Significantly from Hurricane Florence

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A14Damage resulting from Hurricane Florence could cut North Carolina sweet potato shipments by as much as 35 percent, at least with one early estimate.  Better estimates may not be available for weeks.

Vick Family Farms of Wilson, N.C  was expecting to resume the week harvest the week of September 24th when fields should dry.  The grower-shipper had completed harvesting about 35 percent of its crop before the massive storm hit.

Farming operation near Wilson, N.C., received about 10 to 12 inches of rain, while southern and southeastern parts of the state east of Wilson received 30 to 40 inches of rain. The farm and packinghouse never lost power.  The Vick operation is guessing it has lost 25 to 35 percent of its production, while growing regions south and east potentially suffering greater damage.

The North Carolina sweet potato harvest usually finishes harvest by November or when there is a heavy frost.  Thus, how much of the crop is harvested will affect volume this season.  Whether post hurricane harvested sweet potatoes will have good storage quality is another concern. Effects from the hurricane are expected to be felt for the next 12 months.

Product harvested prior to Florence has been cured and is being shipped.

The USDA reports season-to-date shipments of North Carolina sweet potatoes totaled only 200,000 pounds through September 15th, off from 7.8 million pounds the same time a year ago.

Nearly all U.S. sweet potatoes are shipped by truck and for the 2017 shipping season North Carolinas accounted for 72.9 percent of the volume, Mississippi 11.7 percent, California 11.6 percent and Louisiana 3.8 percent.

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Hurricane Clobbers North Carolina Sweet Potatoes

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dscn4297Produce trucking sweet potato loads could be affected significantly for the 2016-17 shipping season due to damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.   Loading opportunities this fall for Florida, Georgia and South Carolina will be impacted much less, although volume from these three states is limited this time of year.

Southeast produce growers are estimating damage from Hurricane Matthew which hugged coastal Florida and Georgia before slamming into South Carolina and North Carolina, where it flooded fields and caused evacuations

North Carolina Sweet Potato Shipments

Around 40 to 45 percent of the sweet potato harvest had been dug when the storm dumped up to 18 inches of rain October 6 – 9 during the middle of the North Carolina harvest.

There is little doubt North Carolina sweet potato shipments were hit pretty hard, and significant losses will occur, but the bottom line is  it will take days, if not week to assess the damage.  Earlier this week many roads remained impassible with a lot of farmland remaining underwater  as river levels were still rising in some areas.

Besides sweet potatoes, the Tar Heel state also grows and ships cabbage, greens and a variety of fall vegetables including bell peppers, cucumbers and squash.

South Carolina Vegetable Shipments

The South Carolina received 8-18 inches of rain and growers and state officials are assessing damages.  However, South Carolina isn’t a significant player in vegetable shipments this time of the year, although it does have leafy greens are grown in small acreage in the flooded areas east of Columbia.  There also are crops grown in sandy soils of the interior growing regions that should fair okay.

South Carolina’s peach shipments were completed in September,  but there are cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and watermelons grown closer to the Atlantic Coast.  There are expected to have damage.

Georgia Vegetable Shipments

Most of Georgia’s southern vegetables are grown in the south-central part of the state, but are believe to have escaped serious damage.  As for the 2017 Vidalia onion crop that starting shipping in April, the area had up to six inches of rain resulting in minor damage to Vidalia onion seed beds, which are planted for the spring harvest.

Some Vidalia onion shippers lost power for about 10 hours.  The electricity runs coolers for their imported Peruvian onions but no damage was reported.

Florida Produce Shipments

Little or no damage was reported with Florida vegetables or citrus.

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New Season Outlook: WA Apples, NC Sweet Potatoes

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DSCN7885The initial outlook for new season shipments of Washington state apples and North Carolina sweet potatoes are looking good, with increases in loadings expected for both.

Washington apple shipments for the fresh market are expected to hit nearly 133 million carton this season .  If you include apples for processing it climbs to 168 million cartons, which was be a massive 15.7 percent increase over last season.  This would represent 64 percent of the nation’s apple volume.

Shipped in 40-pound cartons, the fresh crop is up 15 percent from last year’115 million boxes.  However this would be down 6 percent from 2014’s record 141.8 million boxes.

Washington growers typically begin harvesting in early August and continues into November, but due to warm growing conditions the crop is coming on a week or two early.  The forecast also could be affected as we journey into the season due to several months of variable weather which can affect the final season’s crop total.

The red delicious variety remains the biggest-producer accounting for 25 percent of total production.  Galas are at 23 percent fujis at 14 percent,with granny smiths at 13 percent.  This season honeycrisps are forecast at 7 percent and cripps pinks — also known as Pink Lady apples — are at 4 percent.

Yakima Valley apples – grossing about $4200 to Dallas.

Sweet Potato Shipments

Depending upon the growing operation, harvest of North Carolina sweet potatoes for the new season will get underway anywhere from August 15th to the 25th.  However, the old crop from the 2015-16 season will continue to be shipped into September.  However, old crop supplies are dwindling.  This will probably result in some shippers shipping uncured sweet potatoes from the new crop.  Just make sure your customers are aware you’ll be delivering uncured product, since cured sweet potatoes are preferred.  The new season with cured sweet potatoes should be in good volume by early October.

The outlook on size of the North Carolina crop hasn’t been issued yet, but early indications are it will be as large, if not a little larger than last season.

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Shipping Outlook for Peaches, Sweet Onions, Spuds, Sweet Potatoes

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DSCN7453From Georgia peaches, to sweet onions loadings around the country, to potatoes and sweet potatoes, here are some produce loading oppportunities.

Vidalia onion shipments have gotten off to a fast start.  Much of the reason is due to light supplies from areas creating a larger demand for the sweet onion from Southeastern Georgia…. Onions also are experiencing brisk shipments out of the California desert area of  the Imperial Valley…..Sweet onion shipments out of Walla Walla Washington are expected to get under way about June 20th.

Georgia Peach Shipments

Peach shipments from Georgia are expected to get underway the third week of May from the Ft. Valley area.  Georgia is expecting its best season in a decade.

Colorado Potato Shipments

Walked into my local Wal-Mart  supermarket in northeastern Oklahoma May 5 and the first thing customers saw were of bins of Colorado russets.  They were priced at 75 cents for a 5-pound bag.  Why don’t they just give them away!  The San Luis Valley of Colorado is shipping over 600 truck loads of potatoes a week.

Colorado potatoes – grossing about $1600 to Dallas.

Wisconsin Potato Shipments

Potato loadings are coming out of Central Wisconsin.  Volume is averaging around 250 truck loads per week.

Wisconsin potatoes – grossing about $950 to Chicago.

North Carolina Sweet Potato Shipments

Sweet potato shipments, primarily from Eastern North Carolina, are having pretty steady volume from week to week.  The Tarheel State is averaging about 250 truck loads being shipped a week.



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Selected Produce Shipments from Across the Country

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DSCN6956 Produce shipments should start returning to more normal movement now that we are past the holidays and receivers are starting to replenish their stocks.  Here’s a look at produce shipping from several areas around the country.

Western Lettuce Shipments

Lettuce shipments, led by Iceberg and romaine are originating primarily out of the Yuma district of Arizona.  Other leading items are celery, broccoli and cauliflower, although cold weather has cut into volume.  Loadings are much lighter from the California desert, primarily from the Imperial Valley, Coachella Valley and Palo Verde.

Apple Shipments

Washington’s Yakima and Wenatchee valleys are averaging bout 2500 truckloads per week.  New York state, led by the Hudson Valley, is shipping about 250 truckloads weekly.  Michigan is third in volume about 175 trucks per week.

Washington apple shipments – grossing about $4500 to Dallas.

Texas Produce Shipments

Overall, it’s still relatively light for produce items here.  This is light to moderate shipments of grapefruit and oranges from the Lower Rio Grande Valley.  The is better volume of Mexican tropical fruits and vegetables crossing the border.

South Texas citrus and Mexican produce freight rates were up 15 to 20 percent during the holidays, depending on the destination; for example, grossing about $2900 to Atlanta.  Rates could drop with the holidays past us.

East Coast Produce Shipments

Pretty slim pickin’s over all.  If you’re coming out of Florida with a partial load, there’s very light volume of cabbage and greens being shipped from Southern Georgia…Eastern North Carolinas is loading sweet potatoes in moderate volume….Dry onion shipments are coming out of Orange County, NY.  Partial loads of cabbage are coming out of central and western New York.  Apples are available from the Hudson Valley, Champlain Valley, plus central and western areas….Aroostrock County, Maine has light volume with potatoes.

North Carolina sweet potato shipments – grossing about $3000 to Boston.




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NC Sweet Potato Shipments Triple in Last 5 Years

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DSCN5994North Carolina sweet potato shipments continue to set records as the product gains popularity with consumers.

With Thanksgiving past us and Christmas on the horizon, sweet potatoes shipments are rounding out another strong year due to high demand and a record increase in acreage.  Despite some adverse growing conditions more acreage helped offset the poor weather.  North Carolina faced delayed plantings due to extreme heat and drought.  By harvest time, the entire state was hit by an excess of moisture.  Still, sweet potatoes haulers were transporting generally good quality product.

After setting a North Carolina record in 2014 at 72, 000 acres, the state’s growers beat their own mark this year, with 84, 000 acres of sweet potatoes planted for the 2015 season.

Some estimates for the past five years, have North Carolinian sweet potato sweet shipments tripling.   Sweet potato growers have planted more and more acres each year as they try to keep pace with consumer demand, and have expanded other aspects of their operations  such as storage capacity and new packing lines.

While sweet potato shipments originate from Mississippi, Louisiana, California and Arkansas, North Carolina easily is the largest shipper of the product.

Eastern North Carolina sweet potato shipments – grossing about $2000 to Atlanta, $3000 to Chicago.

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Eastern Produce Shipments from Georgia, NC, MI and New York

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They may not necessarily be truck loads, but at least partial loads should be available in a number of Eastern produce shipping areas, ranging from the deep south, to New York and Michigan.

Georgia Produce Shipments

004Southern Georgia should ship around 110-120 million pounds of pecans this year, making it one of the best seasons in the last three years.  Georgia is No.1 in U.S pecan shipments…..Elsewhere in South Georgia are a number of vegetables being shipped, but it is light volume with only partial loads available.  For example, about 75 truck load equivalents of beans are being loaded weekly.  There also is light, but increasing volume with items ranging from peppers to eggplant and greens.

North Carolina Produce Shipments

Eastern North Carolina sweet potato shipments are currently your best bet in the Tar Heel state.  About 250 truck loads per week are being loaded….Meanwhile the cabbage harvest has just started, with very light loadings just getting underway.

North Carolina sweet potatoes – grossing about $2500 to New York City.

New York Produce Shipments

The Hudson Valley provides the majority of apple shipments, although there is lighter volume from other parts of the state including central and western New York.  All total, New York apple shipments are averaging a little over 300 truck loads per week….Cabbage shipments from central and western areas are averaging about 225 truck loads weekly.  Storage onions, primarily from Orange County, are amounting to around 150 truck loads per week.

New York cabbage – grossing about $1200 to Boston.

Michigan Produce Shipments

Not much going on here.  Your best bet is with apples, primarily from the Grand Rapids area. Michigan is averaging about 250 truck loads weekly.  There also very light volume with storage onions.

Michigan apples – grossing about $3400 to Orlando.



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