Posts Tagged “Red River Valley potatoes”

Yellow Potatoes Continue to Gain Market Share

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DSCN0239By Ted Kreis
Yellow potatoes continue to gain market share and the gain is mostly at the expense of russets and whites, two potato types shippers in the Red River Valley haven’t grown for the fresh market in years.
Red River Valley red production has been up and down in recent years but one trend is clear, the valley is growing more yellows. In 2010 the valley produced just over 200,000 hundredweight (cwt.) of yellow potatoes.  Just five years later in 2015 the valley produced 607,000 cwt., a three-fold increase. In 2016 the number increased even more despite some yellow losses in the northern valley.  On a percentage basis, yellow potatoes made up just six percent of the Red River Valley fresh crop in 2010; the past two years they have averaged 14.5 percent.
Heimbuch Potato located south of Oaks in southeast North Dakota is geographically separated a bit from other Red River Valley shippers but they have close business ties with the valley.  They are also included with the Red River Valley for USDA  production and shipment numbers.  Not too long ago Heimbuchs grew three types of potatoes for the fresh market; reds, yellows and russets.  But brothers Chad and Josh Heimbuch picked up on the popular yellow trend early and in 2013 they switched to all yellow potato production.
Other Color Trends 
Nationwide white potatoes for the fresh market have been the big losers.  Since the 2008 crop year white potato shipments have decreased 43.3 percent, according to numbers compiled by the North American Potato Market News.
Russet shipments so far this season mimics closely 2008 although russets are down 7.7 percent from 2009 when they hit a 10 year peak.
U.S. red shipments had increased about 14% between 2009 and 2015 crop years but have regressed this year because of short supplies here in the Red River Valley, the nation’s largest red producer..
(Ted Kreis is the Marketing & Communications Director for the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, East Grand Forks, MN)

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Shipping Updates: RRV Potatoes Down; CA Strawberries; Texas Citrus

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dscn8448Updated estimates continue to show fewer Red River Valley potatoes for hauling this season, plus here’s a look at California strawberry loads and Texas citrus.
Fall Potato production in North Dakota is 20.8 million hundredweight, down 25 percent from 2015, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Yield, at 325 hundredweight per acre, is down 20 hundredweight from a year earlier. Area harvested, at 64 thousand acres, is down 16 thousand acres from 2015.
 Potato production in Minnesota was 16.7 million hundredweight, up slightly from 16.2 million last year. Average yield jumped from 400 hundredweight per acre in 2015 to 430 in 2016.  40,000 acres were planted, only 1,000 acres were not harvested according to NASS. 
Red River Valley potatoes – grossing about $1700 to Chicago.
California Strawberry Shipments
January rains in California may have disrupted the harvest and shipments of strawberries, but the welcome moisture should bode well in the weeks and months ahead.  Volume is building out of Ventura County leading up the popular St. Valentine’s Day, February 14th.  Oxnard shipment should continue through April.  In the meantime, light volume from the Watsonville area as well as Santa Maria will start in March.
Strawberries and vegetables from Ventura County – grossing about $6200 to New York City.
Texas Citrus Shipments
Citrus acreage in Texas is expected to increase from 27,000 acres this year to as much as 30,000 acres by next year, despite challenges like citrus greening and the Mexican fruit fly.

Most of the state’s citrus are Texas red grapefruit varieties, but there also are early and mid-season oranges, navels and valencias.

The season has been progressing smoothly and orange shipments should continue through March and possibly into April.

The firm started grapefruit in early November and expects to continue through April.

Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas grapefruit, oranges and imported Mexican vegetables  and tropical fruits- grossing about $2500 to Atlanta; $2800 to Chicago and $4200 to New York City.



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Shipping Updates: Red Potatoes and Pomegranates

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IMG_6803Red potato shipments from the Red River Valley have taken a hit for the upcoming season.  Meanwhile, California pomegranate shipments are picking up.

Roughly one-third, or 7,000 to 7,800 acres of the Red River Valley potatoes for the fresh market have been lost to excessive rain, and hail damage in northeast North Dakota.  Seed and chipping potatoes in the area have suffered damage also and are not included in that talley.
Bruce Huffaker of North American Potato Market News estimates as many as 13,000 acres total (fresh, seed and chipping combined) have been lost in North Dakota and 1,500 in neighboring northwest Minnesota.  Counties hardest hit in North Dakota are Pembina and Walsh and in Minnesota, Kittson and Polk.
However, potato fields south of Grand Forks and outside the Red River Valley appear to be in great shape. There are also fields north of Grand Forks that have escaped major damage.
The fresh potato shipments are well underway in the Long Prairie and Big Lake areas of Minnesota.  Some of those potatoes are being washed and packed by Red River Valley wash plants, because the harvest in the valley is still several weeks away.  Supplies should be adequate at the start of the Red River Valley shipping season but several plants will wrap up earlier than normal in the spring.

Pomegranate Shipments

California grower-shippers are having good shipments of pomegranates that began in mid-August.  However, 80 percent or more of the crop is in the wonderful variety which starts around October 1.

Volume loadings will be down this seas as there is some movement toward other crops.   Some growers are swapping out pomegranates for nut varieties viewed as being more profitable.

Slayman Marketing of Bakersfield, CA  focuses on early varieties and began shipping in early August.  Last year started earlier, around July 20.  Simonian Fruit Co. of Fowler, CA  is expecting similar shipments to a year ago.  Simonian should wrap up harvesting the first half of November.

The largest shipper of the wonderful variety is Los Angeles-based Pom Wonderful, which accounts for about 70 percent of California pomegranate shipments.


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A Coast-to-Coast Look at Winter Produce Loading Opportunities

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FDSCN1840rom California strawberry shipments to Maine potato loadings, here is a round up of several areas across the nation shipping fresh produce.

Strawberry volume from California’s Ventura County has picked up, but won’t be peaking until spring.  Mexican strawberries from Baja California are also being loaded at San Diego packing sheds.  Both areas will be shipping strawberries through June.

A heads up, if you haul Huron district head lettuce and romaine out of the San Joaquin Valley in the spring and fall.  Due to water rationing, at least one major shipper will not ship this spring, and other major shipper is significantly cutting back acreage.  There are some plans to attempt extending the Imperial Valley and Yuma district lettuce loadings in a attempt to make up the difference.

Southern California berries and citrus, grossing about $6500 to New York City.

Red River Valley potatoes in North Dakota and Minnesota is reporting steady shipments of red potatoes, averaging around 375 truck loads per week.

Red River Valley potatoes – grossing about $1900 to Chicago.

Upstate New York apple loads are totalling  about 250 truck loads weekly, while New York onion shipments are hitting around 200 loads each week.

Aroostrock County potato shipments in Maine are averaging about  less than 200 truck loads weekly.

Maine potatoes – grossing about $1750 to New York City.

Chilean grapes have replaced season ending California grapes within the past week.  Arrivals by boat are occurring at ports on both the East and West coasts.  March and April are expected to provide the heaviest loading opportunities.

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Red River Valley Potatoes; South Texas/Mexican Produce Shipping Update

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RRVdiggingHarvest is virtually over for Red River Valley potatoes.  With product in storage, shippers can now give full attention to marketing and shipping their crop.

There’s also a lot of avocados and other Mexican produce crossing the border into South Texas.

Significant moisture received the first two weeks of October resulted in wet and muddy field conditions in some RRV areas, which made for difficult harvest conditions (See photo of tractor and harvestor stuck in the mud).

Red potatoes account for 98 percent  of the fresh potatoes grown in the Red River Valley.   Overall shipments from the North Dakota and Minnesota area is expected to be down this season, perhaps 20 percent.  More on this will soon be available as the harvest is completed.

Mexican Produce Shipments

Total exports of Hass avocados from Mexico into the United States in 2012-13 were a record 517,896 metric tons, up 40 percent from the prior crop year.  This topped the previous year by 26 percent.  Similar volume is expected this year.

As of the first week in October, the weekly volume was up to where it had been on that date a year ago.   Volume increases are seen for November and December.  In all, very good volume for avocados are seen out of Mexico for the 2013-14 season.  The majority of the fruit crosses the border into the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Mexican avocados (crossing the border), plus other Mexican items and Texas citrus – grossing about $4000 to New York City.

Red River Valley potatoes – grossing about $1900 to Chicago.

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A Coast-to-Coast Fall Outlook for Fresh Produce Shipments

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DSCN0091From Washington state apples, to Nebraska and Texas potatoes, as well as North Carolina sweet potatoes and more, here’s some fresh produce loads to consider.

Washington Apple Loads

Apple shipments are really picking up from Washington state’s Yakima and Wenatchee valleys.  They have finally got the old crop out the way and the focus has shifted to new season fruit.  The harvest is still continuing, but volume should get heavy as we get into November.

Potato Loads

Shipments of red potatoes out of North Dakota and Minnesota remain only light to moderate as digging still continues.  The harvest of Red River Valley potatoes is about two to three weeks behind schedule, with a little over half of the spuds now in storage.  Loadings should increase in the weeks ahead.

Sweet Potato Loads

Another late harvest is with North Carolina sweet potatoes.  Some sweet potatoes were being shipped uncured at the start of the season, but now there has been time for curing.  Sweet potatoes are not very sweet or moist when first dug. It takes six to eight weeks of proper curing and storage before they have the sweet, moist taste and texture desired when baked.

Nebraska continues to ship light amounts of potatoes, mostly from the Imperial, Neb area in the southwest part of the state, and from O’Neill in Northeast Nebraska — about 200 loads weekly combined from both areas

There’s also similar volume of potatoes coming out of what’s know as the High Plains district of West Texas, around the Herford area.

Washington state apples – grossing about $6400 to New York City.

North Carolina sweet potatoes – about $1500 to Atlanta. 




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The U.S., including Idaho, ND, Neb. will Have Fewer Potato Loads

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DSCN2133North Dakota potato shipments could be off 22.6 percent this season, according to the North American Potato Market News.  If this holds 5.7 million less hundredweight than in 2012 will be loaded.  Blame is being placed on a cold, wet spring.  Hardest hit are red potatoes for the fresh market and chip crops, with the processing potatoes closer to normal.   Total US potato loads also will be off from last season.

The Red River Valley potatoes from North Dakota and Minnesota is the fourth largest spud shipping region in the country.

If predictions hold, North Dakota harvest acres could  be down nearly 11 percent from last year with the average yield dropping from 300 bags per acre in 2012 down to 260 this year.

In neighboring Minnesota,  it is predicted there will be a 2.7 percent increase in potato shipments, sighting close to ideal weather conditions which should push the average yield up from 400 to 410 hundredweight per acre in the state. 

 Additonally the Market News  sees a 5.4 percent drop in shipments of fall potatoes across the U.S.  North Dakota and Nebraska will have by far the largest drops in shipments on a percentage basis at 22.6% and 18.2% respectively.  However the  largest drop in actual shipments  will occur in Idaho potato shipments projections show a drop of 14.4 million cwt. compared to last year.  Idaho easily leads the nation in potato shipments every year.

 If all the state projections hold true, North Dakota would drop from 4th place down to 6th place in potato shipments in 2013-14 season, and only slightly ahead of Minnesota. 

The USDA will have its fall potato projections out later this month.

Big Lake, MN red potatoes – grossing about $3300 to Atlanta.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $5500 to New York City.

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