Posts Tagged “potato shipments”
The North American Potato Market News (NAPMN) recently forecasted North Dakota and Washington as the only two states that will have significant increases in potato shipments this fall. The report shows North Dakota’s production to be up 1.8 million hundredweight (cwt.) and Washington’s production to be up about 6 million cwt. Harvested acres are expected to be up significantly in both states.
The national scene is much different however, NAPMN is forecasting U.S. production at 402.1 million cwt. which would be down about 7.7 million cwt. compared to 2021. Idaho is forecast to lead all states with the largest decrease in production; down 11.9 million cwt. compared to last year. Idaho planted 290,000 fewer acres to potatoes this spring.
Wada Farms Marketing Group of Idaho Falls, ID concluded its potato harvest several weeks ago, with quality looking very good for the 2022/23 season.
It has acreage similar to last season, with yields a little higher. Quality is reported very good, although sizing of the crop is a mixed bag depending on what field they came from.
Wada Farms has been a family-run company for over 80 years, and grows more than 30,000 acres, of which about a third of that is in potatoes.
The company started with russets but has added colored potatoes, chippers and other specialty potatoesl as well as organic potatoes.
Wada Farms is monitoring its crop and shipping schedule to have supply until next crop becomes available in August of 2023. With limited supplies, a strong market is seen all season. There will be a lot of outside factors that the potato industry will have to contend with such as fryers and dehydrators and what they may do to upset the market.
U.S. potato shipments for the 2021-22 shipping season is forecast by the USDA to be down slightly compared a year ago, according to the agency’s November crop production report.
The USDA notes U.S production of potatoes for the 2021 crop year is forecast at 413 million cwt., down 2% from 420.02 million cwt. produced last season.
Planted acreage, at 951,000 acres, is up 1% from the June estimate and up 4% from last season. Potato area harvested, at 942,300 acres, is up 3% from the previous year, while the yield forecast, at 438 cwt per acre, is down 23 cwt. from last year’s yield.
Idaho’s forecast is 132.09 million cwt., down 2% from 134.77 million cwt. last year. Yields in Idaho were 420 cwt. per acre, off 7% from 450 cwt. per acre last year.
Washington’s output is 93.3 million cwt., down 6% from 99.65 million cwt. last year. Yields in Washington were 585 cwt per acre, off 9% from 645 cwt. per acre last year.
The potato production estimate in North Dakota is 21.0 million cwt., down 12% from last year.
Idaho potato freight rates are up anywhere from 25 to 40 percent over last week, depending on destination. Idaho Falls to Atlanta, grossing about $7200.
Moving into summer the focus on produce trucking tends to be with hot weather items such as cherries, other stone fruit, and salad items. Still there are a good amount of “cold” weather potatoes still being shipped, although almost entire from 5 states.
Idaho is shipping over 1800 truck load equivalents per weeks, while the other four shipping areas are shipping a little over 1600 truck loads weekly combined: San Luis Valley, Colorado, 595; Kern District, California, 420; Columbia Basin in Washington and adjacent Umatilla Basin in Oregon, about 400 but in a seasonal decline; and finally, Central Wisconsin about 200 and also in a seasonal decline.
With a total volume of 3.9 billion pounds, Idaho accounts for 37.5 percent of the total supply, with Colorado, 15.3 percent; Canada 10 percent; Washington 7 percent; Wisconsin 6.3 percent; and Florida with 4.8 percent.
All these regions make 80 percent of the total market supply. Canada has had explosive growth in potato shipments. Last year this region only supplied 77 million pounds compared to the 387 million in 2020.
San Luis Valley potatoes – grossing about $2200 to Chicago.
Twin Falls potatoes – grossing about $5600 to New York City.
By Black Gold Farms
Pearsall, TX – Black Gold Farms began colored potato shipments of the 2019 fresh crop from Texas last week.
Texas grown red and yellow potatoes will ship from Pearsall, TX as well Black Gold Farms’ Arbyrd, MO packing facility until early June. After that, Black Gold Farms will transition to their Missouri fresh colored potato crop that will pack and ship out of the Arbyrd location for the summer.
The first run fields have indicated that the quality will be better than ever. Steve Wright, Farm Manager of the Pearsall farm says, “I’m really excited to be digging our fresh red and yellow spuds. I’ve seen a lot of really good-looking potatoes come out of this area year after year – and this particular season, I’m especially excited.” Wright recognizes that optimal weather, timing, variety and land selection as triggers that set up the season for success.
Keith Groven, Sales Manager at Black Gold Farms explains, “Getting into fresh crop for the year is always exciting – for us at the farm and for our customers. Retailers are thrilled to get their hands on fresh, red and yellow potatoes.” Black Gold Farms recently finished up a strong storage season out of their North Dakota location.
Texas is a prime example of where local makes a difference. Black Gold Farms has truly leveraged that consumer demand for local potatoes. “Texas retailers particularly, have witnessed the demand that Texas-grown colored potatoes can create. A lot of product can move when consumers know it’s local” Groven remarks.
Black Gold Farms is a fourth-generation family farm and grower, shipper, marketer of all types of Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other commodities. They have an extensive network of farm locations throughout the United States, and are headquartered in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
A new crop of potato shipments are now underway with both red and gold varieties from Cal-Organic Farms of Bakersfield, CA.
The organic potatoes will be followed by russet and rainbow fingerling varieties, also organic, in June.
The company is harvesting the red and gold potatoes in California’s desert region and will move to Kern County in late May, when harvest of the company’s complete portfolio of potatoes will begin, according to a news release.
Cal-Organic, a division of Grimmway Farms, will ship potatoes through October.
“We are anticipating outstanding quality and consistent supply to launch our fresh crop potato program,” Bob Borda, vice president of organic sales at Grimmway Farms, said in the release.
Russets, which easily lead the spud category in volume, experienced a drop in potato shipments the last six months of 2018.
Although there was small increase in fresh potato sales during this period, the decline in russet volume dragged the overall fresh potato category down in volume.
Potatoes USA of Denver, CO, the nation’s potato marketing and research organization, reports fresh sales were up 1.3 percent, but shipments of russets, which make up two-thirds of the category, dropped 7.3 percent. That resulted to a decline of fresh potato volume of 4.3 percent. Overall fresh sales were $769.3 million, almost $1 million more than sales in the same quarter a year ago.
The average price-per pound of all varieties rose from 64 cents to 68 cents.
Smaller pack sizes saw a small decline in volume (although dollar sales for 1- to 4-pound packs rose 3.8percent), but the industry moved more 8-pound bags and in the bulk category. Eight-pound packs were up 4.6 percent in sales and 0.5 percent in volume. Bulk sales saw a 1.4 perent drop, with a volume increase of 0.8 percent.
According to the report, which uses data from IRI, fresh sales of yellow potatoes, which contribute 11.6 percent of the overall volume of varieties, were up 4.8 percent.
Potato shipments should be strong during the holidays and well into 2019, despite bad weather in some growing regions and an overall reduction in production.
Potatoes USA of Denver is the marketing organization for the 2,500 commercial potato growers operating in the United States. It reports overall shipments may be slightly below last year, which was the period July 2017 to July 2018.
It believes shipments to foodservice and retail chains will continue to grow this year.
Potandon Produce of Idaho Falls, Idaho reports excessive rain hit many potato growers, particularly in Wisconsin, and Michigan, while there has been an early snow season in North Dakota. Meanwhile, Colorado, Texas, Idaho and Washington were experiencing good-sized crops.
The Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association of Antigo reports the state’s potato shipments may be down 10 to 15 percent, which would mean a total production of just over 2.3 billion pounds — down from about 2.6 billion last year.
In Grand Forks, N.D., Black Gold Farms reduced its acreage slightly this year because the company had too many potatoes last year.
Black Gold Farms grows and ships norland and dark norland potatoes for the early season, red potatoes for mid-season and the sangre variety for late season.
The company is now shipping a few more yellow potatoes.
Mountain King Potato of Monte Vista, CO., is reporting excellent quality and average yields.
Mack Farms of Lake Wales, FL has planted mostly red potatoes and some gold and white varieties. It will begin harvesting in early February, and is the first Florida operation to ship new potatoes to market. The company does not ship potatoes out of storage.
Most South Florida potato growers are expected to have about the same acreage as last year.
Russet potatoes continue to be the variety most widely shipped, but they continue to decline each year with the increasing popularity of red and gold potatoes.
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.
Potato shipper Eagle Eye Produce, headquartered in Idaho Falls, ID, is loading potatoes out of Mattawa, WA, and Pioche, NV, with farming operations at each location with production and shipping facilities on each farm….Meanwhile Oregon onion shipper River Point Farms is shipping onions year around.
Eagle Eye Produce has found the Nevada growing area offers ideal growing for potatoes due to isolation and dry climate. This reduces disease issues which often hinders other growing regions. The company has a climate-controlled storage on site, providing it with the ability to ship potatoes starting in September and going through May.
In Mattawa, the Eagle Eye facility will provide about 2,500 truck loads of product available for shipment with a high percentage of No. 1’, which means excellent quality that is shipped to foodservice customers.
Eagle Eye started its new crop potato shipments on August 1st and will continue shipping through next July, which means it has potatoes year-round.
Eagle Eye Produce reports trucking and transportation issues remains one of the biggest challenges with the company and the produce industry.
This is resulting in Eagle Eye searching for alternate means of transportation for shipping product ranging from rail, to cold connect, and intermodal. There operation also has its own logistic department with a fleet of trucks that helps reduces the challenges it faces with transportation.
River Point Farms
River Point Farms, based in Hermiston, OR, is a vertically integrated, source-based onion supplier shipping whole skin-on, whole peel and cut onions to market 52 weeks per year.
The company is one of the largest onion shippers in the United States growing between 400 to 500 million pounds of onions annually. The firm has yellow, red, sweet yellow, sweet red, white and organic yellows on its farms in the Columbia Basin. River Point has a state-of-the-art packing and storage facilities allowing it to grow, store, pack and process quality onions year-round.
River Point Farms started its new crop of onion shipments in late June.
Fresh potato shipments got underway from Washington’s Columbia Basin and Oregon’s Umatilla Basin in late July with yellow and red potatoes, then with russet norkotahs.
Washington state potato acreage has been stable in recent years at about 170,000 acres, and it is expected to remain similar this year.
About 90 percent of Washington potato volume goes to processors for frozen potatoes. Much of this processing is attributed to access to deepwater ports in Seattle-Tacoma for export to Far East markets.
Strong global demand for frozen potatoes, growing at 6 to 8 percent a year could lead to an even higher percentage of spuds going to the processors in the future.
Only about 2 percent of Washington production is with organic potatoes, which is split evenly between fresh and processing uses.
Washington fresh potato shipments in 2017 totaled 22.9 million 50-pound cartons, up from 20.1 million cartons in 2016, according to the USDA.
Oregon Potato Shipments
Over the past three season Oregon potato shipments came off of 38,900 acres, where fresh volume accounts for about 12 percent of the production.
Limited water supplies could result in a decline in the Klamath Falls growing region in 2018. However, acreage could increase in the Blue Mountain-Hermiston area on the Washington border.
Oregon shipped 5.3 million 50-pound cartons in 2017, up from 5.1 million cartons in 2016. In comparison, the Idaho’s fresh shipments in 2017 were 73.9 million 50-pound cartons, up from 70.4 million cartons in 2016.
Idaho growers harvested 309,000 fall potato acres in 2017, off from 324,000 acres in 2016.
The Washington/Oregon potato industry at times has expressed concerns over rising truck rates for potatoes pointing out the cost of freight has been equaling the cost of the product being hauled. For example, a common truck rate has been $9 per 50-pound carton, which is the average price of a box of russets. This is believed to be possibly opening the door for more regional potato production so receivers can save on freight rates.