Posts Tagged “Red River Valley potato shippers”
The Central Minnesota potato season kicks off the upper Midwest potato season each year and demand for trucks has been strong this year.
The season started July 24th with red potatoes out of Big Lake, MN as well as Long Prairie, MN although in most years Long Prairie gets underway a week to 10 days later. The two areas only have five or six major shippers, but they will load 4000 to 4100 trucks in roughly a six-week period. The season starts winding down after Labor Day. Central Minnesota russet shipments just started late last week.
The DeChene Corporation of Big Lake has finished its season, while Peterson Bros. River Valley Farms Inc. of Long Prairie should be finished by Labor Day. John Petron of Long Prairie should wrap up its season no later than the third week of September.
A few shippers in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota also market and ship potatoes from Big Lake and Long Prairie. While Big Lake and Long Prairie have wash plants, there are no storage facilities so they wash, pack and ship as much product as possible directly from there.
Some Red River Valley potato shippers, such as NoKota Packers Inc., of Buxton, ND ,which has both wash, packing and storage facilities handles early season spuds from Minnesota until the valley gets going. NoKota, which is one of the valley’s largest red potato shippers already had 44 truckloads of potatoes sold yesterday for this week (August 28 – September 1) that were grown in Central Minnesota.
A primary reason truck supplies can be in short supply, whether it’s Central Minnesota or the valley is the lack of freight to haul in into those potato producing areas.
NoKota Packers plans to get started with valley potatoes by September 11th. The valley’s largest shipper, Associated Potato Growers Inc. of Grand Forks, ND is hoping to get its season under by September 18th.
While shippers have been scrambling to get enough trucks this season out of Central Minnesota, load board service DAT recently reported a critical truck shortage occurred on August 16th out of Central Minnesota. It pointed out there were 23.4 loads of potatoes available for each truck posted! DAT reported at that time rates from St. Cloud, MN (which is 57 miles Southeast of Long Prairie and 27 miles northwest of Big Lake) were $3171 to Atlanta and $2652 to Dallas.
Yesterday NoKota Packers reported rates at about $3600 to Plant City, FL and $2800 to San Antonio.
Weather related issues will cut into potato hauling opportunities this season in Idaho, Colorado, Wisconsin and the Red River Valley, but there will still be ample hauls available for produce truckers.
The effects of summer rain and hail will likely put a dent in potato loadings this season, but growers are optimistic at the beginning of harvests. A few Colorado growers started digging during the past week, but the harvest is just ready to get into full swing. Around 20 percent of Colorado acreage received hail damage this summer, but most of it was minor. It only means a bumper crop has turned into a more normal crop.
Late rains in Wisconsin were complicating the start of the 2014 harvest. Some diggings in Wisconsin started about three weeks ago, and rains are expected to lower yields, but more normal potato shipments are still expected this season.
Central Wisconsin potatoes – grossing about $1100 to Chicago.
Similar circumstance are being heard from Idaho potato shippers. While its still not known how much, yields, volume and loadings will be affected, in most years it’s a darned good thing for everyone, if fewer, not more potatoes are coming out of Idaho. The state is just now entering volume shipments.
Idaho potatoes – grossing about $5600 to New York City.
In the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, the nation’s largest shipper of dry land red potatoes should provide decent loading opportunities this season, but no one is predicting any records for volume. Most Red River Valley potato shippers see an average sized crop, if not somewhat below average. It will probably be October before good volume is available for hauling out of the valley. In the meantime, there are some loading opportunities for red potatoes out of Long Prairie, MN, although some of those spuds are delivered to the valley for washing, packing and shipping.
Long Prairie potatoes – grossing about $2800 to Dallas.