Posts Tagged “sweet potato shipments”
More than 13,000 refrigerated truckloads of North Carolina’s sweet potatoes are shipped each season.
With big volume every month of the year, North Carolina sweet potato growers easily account for the biggest share of orange vegetable supply. In 2020, North Carolina accounted for about two-thirds of total U.S. sweet potato truck shipments reported by the USDA, followed in volume by Mississippi (16%), California (11%) and Louisiana (6%).
North Carolina’s harvested sweet potato area in 2021 was 104,700 acres, producing yields of 175 cwt per acre and total production of 18.32 million.
According to USDA shipment numbers from 2021, November is the top month for North Carolina sweet potatoes, accounting for 11.3% of total crop movement that year.
The percentage of the total North Carolina sweet potato crop shipped, by month, in 2021, according to the USDA:
- January: 8.5%
- February: 9.2%
- March: 10.5%
- April: 9.1%
- May: 10.6%
- June: 8.5%
- July: 5.8%
- August: 4.7%
- September: 5.6%
- November: 11.3%
- December: 8.6%
This season U.S. sweet potato shippers are looking for greater volume due to the new crop providing better yields. After unfavorable weather conditions last fall, sweet potato yields dropped from 224 cwt. per acre in 2017 to 190 cwt. per acre in 2018.
Sweet potato acreage and yields fell from 2017 to 2018. Acreage fell from 159,300 acres harvested to 144,400 acres and yield dropped 8.27 million cwt. from 35.64 million cwt. to 27.38 million cwt., according to the USDA.
The USDA reported shipments of North Carolina sweet potatoes totaled 14.2 million 40-pound cartons from August 2018 through July 2019, down from 18.57 million cartons the previous year.
Shipments from Louisiana from August 2018 through July 2019 totaled 1.08 million 40-pound cartons, up slightly from 1.03 million cartons the previous year.
The U.S. Sweet Potato Council Inc. noted Hurricane Florence that hit North Carolina and there were relentless rains in the southern states of Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama. The combination in the fall of 2018 was a shortage of potatoes this year.
Garber Farms of Iota, LA lost one third of its 2018 sweet potato crop to wet weather resulting in shipping gaps until the new shipping season gets underway.
Nash Produce of Nashville, NC experienced a similar shipping season. The company is hopeful volume will be up this season.
North Carolina accounted for 19.69 million cwt. of sweet potatoes in 2017 and 10.99 million cwt. in 2018. The state also harvested 16,500 fewer acres than in 2016.
In terms of exports, North Carolina supplies approximately half of exported U.S. sweet potatoes.
U.S. sweet potato exports saw a drop in supply for the first time in 6 years in April 2019. North Caroline dodge most of the “bullet” from Hurricane Dorian a few weeks ago.
Supply is starting to pick up, due to favorable weather, and the American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute expects export volume and production to rise to previous levels.
Harvest started on time with the peak shipping season being from mid-September to mid-October.
Garber Farms started harvest on time in early September with the peak season being in November.
News has been sketchy so far, but The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and consumer estimates Hurricane Florence inflicted over $1.1 billion in damage to crops and livestock in North Carolina. Of that, about $27 million is damage to sweet potatoes, other vegetables and horticultural crop losses. North Carolina ships more sweet potatoes annually than all of producing states combined.
The numbers easily top the $400 million seen following Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
“We knew the losses would be significant because it was harvest time for so many of our major crops and the storm hit our top six agricultural counties especially hard,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in the release. “These early estimates show just what a devastating and staggering blow this hurricane leveled at our agriculture industry.”
According to the state’s agricultural department:
- Row crop losses are estimated at $986.6 million
- Forestry losses are estimated at $69.6 million
- Green industry losses are estimated at $30 million
- Vegetable and horticulture crop losses are estimated at $26.8 million
- Livestock, poultry and aquaculture losses are estimated at $23.1 million
- Livestock losses are 4.1 million poultry and an estimate of 5,500 hogs.
The state did not make damage estimates by individual commodities.
Sweet potato growers and shippers report it could be months before the full extent of losses may be determined. Sweet potato harvest in the state continued September 27th after Florence, with more than half of the crop remaining in the field.
Prior to the massive Hurricane and flooding, Nash Produce LLC of Nashville, NC expected sweet potato acreage to be down.
Southern sweet potato shipments has been declining in recent years primarily due to overproduction and poor markets.
U.S. sweet potato acreage in 2017 was down 2.45 percent compared to 2016, although yield per acre increased 16 percent. No official estimate has been made for acreage or volume for 2018.
J Roland Wood Produce Co. of Benson, NC expects a 10 percent reduction in yields this year as a result of a decrease in acreage after last year, plus several weeks of dry weather before Florence. The company had a 20 percent cut in yields from last year, totaling a 30 percent reduction in yield rate from 2017.
Ham Produce Co. Inc. of Snow Hill, NC had been harvesting a few weeks when Florence hit. SMP Southeast/Edmonson Farms of Vardaman, MS started harvesting in the last half of August. While quality was described as having very good quality, volume still wasn’t expected to equal last year. However, total shipments by the company were expected to be adequate to fill customer demand.
Bland Farms of Glennville, GA was expecting the company’s volume to be similar to last year.
Here is a glimpse of some produce loading opportunities found east of the Rocky Mountains, stretching to the East Coast.
Florida is entering its last few weeks of spring vegetable shipments. Sweet corn is averaging 700 – plus truck loads per week primarily from central and southern areas of the state, while just under 700 truck loads of mature green tomatoes are being shipped weekly. There also is decent volume coming from red potatoes and cabbage, with lighter volume on cabbages and dozens of other vegetables. A biggie when it comes to shipments is yet to arrive. Watermelon loadings are in light volume but rapidly increasing.
Florida vegetables – grossing about $3300 to New York City.
Chilean imported grapes totaled around 1200 truck loads arriving by boat last week, primarily at the Ports of Philadelphia and Long Beach, CA. However, expected is a significant decline in volume as Chilean grapes come to a seasonal end.
Sweet potato shipments are pretty steady from the Eastern part of North Carolina averaging around 400 truck loads per week. This is triple the amount of volume coming out of California, Louisiana and Mississippi combined.
New York state is shipping light amounts of apples, but they are coming from scattered areas across much of the states. There also is light volume with cabbage and onions.
Michigan is moving about 100 truck loads of apples from the western half of the state, plus light amounts of potatoes and onions, many which are being brought in from other growing areas for repacking and distribution.
Michigan apples – grossing about $3800 to Boston.
The Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota have light volume with red potatoes averaging about 200 truck loads weekly, while shippers in the Central area of Wisconsin are shipping similar amounts of russets.
In the Southeastern part of Colorado, around 625 truck loads of russet potatoes are being loaded each week.
Colorado and Wisconsin potatoes – both averaging about $3000 to Atlanta.
Plentiful grape shipments crossing the border from Mexico will be starting in a few weeks, plus here’s a shipping update on sweet potatoes.
Mexican grape shipments will get underway in late April, with peak loadings occurring between the last week of May and the third week of June. A majority of the Mexican grapes will be crossing the border at Nogales, AZ.
The Mexican state of Caborca will come into its major production in early June, after shipping its first box in late May. The first crop estimate is expected about April 19-20, but good volume is predicted.
This 2018 crop is expected to be similar to 2016, which yielded a normal volume of about 16 million boxes. In Mexico in 2017, there was a record-breaking fresh grape crop of 21 million boxes exported to the U.S. An additional 4 million boxes were sold in the domestic (Mexican) market.
Nearly all of Mexico’s table grape vineyards are in the state of Sonora. Sonora’s three basic grape-growing regions are Hermosillo, Caborca and Guaymas. Guaymas is the farthest south and ships the earliest Sonoran grapes. The Hermosillo growing district has production to the west of town, in the La Costa area — near the relatively warm waters of the Sea of Cortez — and to the north in Pesqueria. Generally speaking, Caborca supplies the end of Mexico’s fast and short May-June deal.
Sweet Potato Shipments
American sweet potato growers harvested 159,300 acres in 2017, down from 163,300 acres the previous year. From 2010-14, that number had remained between 115,000 and 130,000 acres. As acreage and yields have increased, farmers have seen lower markets, leading one to wonder if supply isn’t finally exceeding demand. Meanwhile, moderate volume of sweets potatoes are being shipping from North Carolina, with much lighter volume from other areas.
Louisiana Sweet Potatoes
Louisiana will continue shipping sweet potatoes into June, ranking a distant fourth in volume nationwide behind North Carolina, California and Mississippi. Cajun country is shipping about 25 truck loads of sweet potatoes a week. Loads are grossing about $1800 to Chicago.
Lower Rio Grande Valley onion shipments are just getting underway with optimism for good volume and quality. Meanwhile, potato exports to Canada take a big jump.
South Texas onion shipments are just getting underway in very light volume, with decent loading opportunities expected in early April.
There are about 7,000 acres of onions in the ground, similar to past seasons. Shipments should continue into late May to early June out of the Rio Grande Valley. Much smaller volume will be available in July from the Winter Garden area just south of San Antonio. Light shipments from West Texas will be follow, continuing into early September. Currently, imported Mexican onions are crossing the border into South Texas and should finish sometime in April.
The Rio Grande Valley of South Texas has about 60 onion growers and about 30 shippers such as Southwest Onion Growers LLC, McAllen, The Onion House, Weslaco and J&D Produce of Edinburg. Total shipments of south Texas onions were about 3 million 50-pound equivalents for the 2015-16 season,
Potato Exports Show Big Growth to Canada, Mexico
U.S. fresh potato exports soared 17 percent in value last year led by double-digit growth in Canada and Mexico. U.S. fresh potato exports totaled $238.8 million, up 17 percent from a year ago, according to the USDA. Volume of fresh potatoes exported in 2017 totaled 544,624 metric tons, up 11 percent from 2016.
Leading the U.S. export market for fresh potatoes was Canada, where $101 million worth of potatoes were shipped, up 15 percent from 2016. The volume of U.S. fresh potatoes sold to Canada totaled 263,426 metric tons, up 9 percent.
Mexico purchased $41.8 million in 2017, up 14 percent from 2016. Volume of U.S. fresh potato exports to Mexico totaled 93,350 metric tons, up 2 percent from 2016.
Sales to other markets, with gains/loss compared with a year ago:
- Taiwan, $22.2 million (19 percent);
- Japan, $18.47 million (-5 percent);
- Philippines, $11.9 million (80 percent);
- South Korea, $8.9 million (160 percent); and
- Malaysia, $6.5 million (19 pecent).
Adequate supplies of sweet potatoes shipments to U.S. markets are seen in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the first ever avocados from Columbia have arrived in the U.S.
North Carolina, the nation’s leading producer and shipper of sweet potatoes should have good supplies the remainder the year, including the important Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
The Tar Heel State has only 83,000 acres, which is 15,000 fewer acres than last season, which is significant considering the state produces over half of the sweet potatoes in the U.S. The loss of acreage is expected to be partially offset by a five percent increase in yields. The harvest continues, but should be mostly completed by Thanksgiving.
Some of the major NC sweet potato shippers are:
Tull Hill Farms Inc., Kinston, N.C.,
Southern Produce Distributors Inc., Faison, N.C.,
Burch Farms, Faison, N.C
Nash Produce LLC, Nashville, N.C.,
Imported Columbian Avocados
The first containers of Colombian avocados destined for the United States were loaded onto vessels at the Port of Cartagena on Thursday, November 2, during a ceremony that included Colombian avocado growers and packers, and Colombian Secretary of Agriculture Juan Guillermo Zuluaga, Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA) officials.
This shipment, on a Hapag Lloyd service, sailed on Friday, November 3, and was delivered on Monday, November 6 to Port Everglades, Florida. Once the shipment clears inspections it will be moved directly to Mission’s Atlanta forward distribution center for further inspection before being delivered to the final customer.
Brent Scattini, Mission’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing, indicated that there is strong interest in Colombian fruit from a retailer perspective. “Since the announcement about Colombia being allowed into the U.S., we’ve had customers asking about it, and several wanting to be the first to receive the fruit. We expect volume to build throughout the season, as well as in years to come. Having an additional source, another option, is good for our customer base.”
Cartama is the leading producer and distributor of Hass avocados in Colombia. The company produces avocados on nearly 1,000 hectares in Colombia, with a packing plant in Pereira.
Mission Produce of Oxnard, CA operates state-of-the-art avocado packing facilities in California, Mexico, Peru and Chile.
U.S. domestic sweet potato shipments of the new crop started recently from two of the leading states, North Carolina and Louisiana.
Loading opportunities for sweet potatoes should be similar this season compared to a year ago from the top volume state of North Carolina, as well as from Louisiana. The harvest got underway in late August by some companies, while getting started in early September with others. Assuming the product is cured before shipping, this mean the hauling season has barely started.
Observers believe there are around 3.1 billion pounds of sweet potatoes to be shipped during the season that lasts about a year from approximately August to August.
SMP Southeast/Edmonson Farms, Vardaman, MS has added 350-400 acres this season with its beauregard, bellevue and orleans varieties.
Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co., Chadbourn, N.C., began its harvest the latter part of August, about a week earlier than last year and hopes to wrap up digging by the end of October.
Some sweet potatoes from this past season are still being shipped from storage as is the case with Ham Produce Co. Inc., Snow Hill, N.C. It should complete shipments of the old crop by the end of September, while transiting to its 2017 crop.
Potato and sweet potato shipper Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC, of Idaho Falls, ID markets sweet potatoes for some growers in sweet potato producing states. Its growers started harvesting around the start of September.
Kornegay Family Produce, Princeton, N.C., began harvesting around Labor Day.
Meanwhile, Southern Produce Distributors Inc., Faison, N.C., launched its harvest the first week of September with the covington variety and planned to start digging murasakis, an increasingly popular purple-skin, white-flesh Asian variety, three weeks later.
Garber Farms, Iota, LA., was on a similar path to getting its season underway and like other areas, was reporting good, quality sweet potatoes.
Between 2009 and 2014, per capita sweet potato consumption grew 60 percent in the United States to 7.5 pounds, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
North Carolina easily leads sweet potato shipments, where about half of all domestic sweet potatoes are grown.
Sweet potato popularity has taken off with a 400 percent increase in sales since 2009 and a 30 percent increase in 2015 alone. Already this year the dollar value of shipments is tracking 30 percent ahead of 2015’s record year, which exceeded $100 million for the first time. The United Kingdom receives over half of all exports from North Carolina, followed by the Netherlands and Canada. Belgium and Germany have seen big bumps in recent years and new markets like Norway are taking off. The Tar Heel State has also been investing to develop export markets, particularly in Europe, where sweet potatoes are not a traditional part of the diet.
North Carolina sweet potatoes are an unfamiliar food for many Europeans, but their sweet flavor, healthy profile and versatility are quickly winning over new consumers. The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ International Trade Office to run education and promotion campaigns to introduce sweet potatoes to Europeans and show how to prepare and enjoy them. Current NCSPC Executive Director Kelly McIver came from NDACS’ marketing division and managed those programs.
“Introducing sweet potatoes to Europe gave us an opportunity to build our story for this ‘exotic’ vegetable,” McIver said in a press release. “We executed an integrated campaign that reached the trade, media and consumers to make N.C. sweet potatoes part of their diet.”
Europeans have adopted sweet potatoes in meal preparation throughout the year. While popular for holiday tables, sweet potatoes are also being grilled or added to salads in the summer, while being roasted or added to soups and stews in colder months. Their extensive nutrition benefits, delicious taste, and versatility are making sweet potatoes a regular part of meals at home and in restaurants.
Sweet potato shipments from the Benson, NC area to Miami, FL – grossing about $2000;$1500 to Philadelphia; and $1000 to Atlanta.
North Carolina sweet potatoes shipments for the new crop got underway in mid August this year, a couple of week earlier than usual. Fortunately, there was great weather for about six weeks that allowed harvesting to go pretty much uninterrupted.
It could have been a real disaster for North Carolina sweet potato shippers if Hurricane Joaquin hadn’t taken a right turn into the Atlantic. Otherwise North Carolina may have been pounded with rains and flooding like South Carolina.
Eastern North Carolina sweet potatoes – grossing $3000 to Boston and Chicago.
Wisconsin continues to the be leading state for fresh cranberry shipments, with Tomah, Wis.-based Habelman Bros. Co., of Tomah, WI being the largest grower/shipper. The Wisconsin cranberry harvest has been in full swing as it gears up for Thanksgiving shipments.
Green Bean Shipments
Green bean shipments for Thanksgiving out of the Southeast are expected to be very light due to heavy September rains. Some bean shippers will be down as much as 60 percent compared to last year. Excessive rains washed a lot of plantings out. Green bean shipments are not expected to rebound until after Thanksgiving.