Posts Tagged “potato shipping”

RRV Potato Shipping is Underway with Volume Down a Bit from Last Season

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A34North Dakota’s 2018 potato shipping forecast is set at 23.7 million cwt, and Minnesota’s at 18.1 million; down 3 percent and 2 percent respectively from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Harvested acres are estimated at 73,000 in North Dakota; down 1,000 acres from 2017, while Minnesota acres dropped to 43,000; down 2,500 from last year.  Average yield in North Dakota is 325, down 5 cwt. from 2017, while Minnesota’s average yield is forecast at 420, up 15 cwt. per acre from last year.

The Red River Valley of Eastern North Dakota and Western Minnesota is the nation’s largest red potato growing and shipping region.

The Red River Valley is unlike anywhere else.  A beautiful stretch of land between the rolling plains of North Dakota and the lakes and forests of Minnesota.  It isn’t your traditional valley, it’s nestled on flat, fertile ground that follows the coils of the mighty Red River as it flows north from South Dakota to Canada.

The Red River Valley is the bottom of what was once Lake Agassiz, a massive glacial lake larger than even the mighty Great Lakes. As the huge glacier plowed over the land, it deposited a layer of silt, clay, sand and rock that slowly transformed into the valley’s rich soil, setting the area up to become one of the world’s most successful farming regions.

The soil is what sets the Red River Valley apart. The rich, dark soil is perfect for growing potatoes. While its black color is distinct, one truly gains an appreciation for the valley’s loam soil when they see it up close and handle it for themselves. This nutrient-rich dirt is the reason why Red River Valley potatoes taste so good.

The continental climate of this area is also a large part of why the Red River Valley produces the world’s best potatoes. Its growing season is short, lasting for only five months, but the growing days are long with as many as 16 hours of sunlight per day. The Red River Valley boasts a consistent dose of precipitation. With most crops watered by prairie rain instead of irrigation, potatoes from the Red River Valley are rich in flavor that only Mother Nature can provide.

With the Red River Valley’s uniquely ideal growing conditions, it’s easy to see why the potato was one of the first crops to be grown here. The first potatoes were planted near Pembina, North Dakota, during the 19th century and served as a valuable food source for fur traders.  As settlements were established in the valley throughout the 1800s, the potato remained a mainstay vegetable.  At the beginning of the 20th century, potatoes began to be produced commercially, with the first commercial planting done near Hoople, North Dakota. During WWII, the potato industry quickly expanded in the Red River Valley, as it built a reputation for its high-quality seed production and its red-skinned potatoes known as “Red River Valley Reds.”

Red River Valley potatoes – grossing about $2125 to Chicago.

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Shipping Updates: Florida Tomatoes are Rebounding; Rates Up for Western U.S. Potatoes

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DSCN0190Florida tomato volume is rebounding as the recovery from Hurricane Irma continues.  Meanwhile, double digit freights on potatoes from some states in the Western U.S. are occurring.

Florida tomato shipments remain much lighter than normal thanks to Hurricane Irma last fall, that is fixing to change.  Volume is gradually coming back as the replantings mature, but it will be around Christmas or perhaps early January before volumes return to normal.  Irma dumped a ton of water of some fields, so use caution loading.  There’s a chance of bacterial and general quality problems with some product, until a little later in the season.

North American Potato Shipping Update

North American fall potato shipments in the most recent USDA update is pegged 505 million cwt. (per hundredweight), down 1 percent from last year.  Canadian growers harvested 106 million cwt., up slightly from 2016, and U.S. growers are expected to produce 399 million cwt., down 2 percent from 2016.  U.S. growers planted 906,500 acres, down from 923,800 in 2016, and harvested 900,600 acres, off from 909,600 in 2016.

Canadian growers planted 345,800 acres and harvested 342,200, both amounts similar to the previous crop.  The USDA reported yields per acre at 443 cwt. for growers in the U.S. and at 309 cwt. for growers in Canada.

Potato shipments for Christmas are getting underway and truck rates from both Idaho and Colorado have increased 10 to 20 percent to many markets.  Wisconsin, which has the lowest volume of the three states, is not experiencing volatility in rates.  Idaho is shipping moving nearly 1700 truckload equivalents of spuds a week, although a significant amount of this is going by rail.  Colorado is shipping around 750 truckloads per week, while Wisconsin is loading about 400 truckloads.  The Columbia Basin and Umatilla Basin on the Washington/Oregon border has similar volume  (about 350 loads) to Colorado  and rates have generally went up 10 to 15 percent recently.

Twin Falls area Idaho potatoes – grossing about $6300 to New York City.

San Luis Valley Colorado potatoes – grossing about $2000 to Dallas.

Stevens Point, Wisconsin area potatoes – grossing about  $3300 to Atlanta.

Washington’s Columbian Basin potatoes – grossing bout $5100 to Chicago.


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