In the latest issue of the Potato Bytes newsletter, issued by Northern Plains Potato Growers Association (NPPGA), Communications Director Ted Kreis writes: “As we near the halfway point of the Red River Valley fresh crop shipping season, marketers are pleased, especially when comparing this year to last year.”
The good fortune started early in the season when a heavy snowcover protected about 4,000 acres of unharvested potatoes from the very cold temperatures that settled in for a few days after the snowstorm.
The color and quality of this year’s crop is excellent and supplies are much more manageable after a nearly 10 percent cut in fresh acres in the Red River Valley.
Kreis says demand is strong. Big potato crop losses in Wisconsin and Canada has pushed more business to the Red River Valley.
Last year’s biggest problem, without the doubt, was the truck shortage. It was responsible for lost sales, higher frieght rates, backed-up inventory which in turned caused falling prices and higher shrink later in the season. This year trucks have been much more available and nobody knows exactly why, but we are all hoping it continues through the second half of the season.
Kreis reports that prices have been steady throughout the shipping season at a $15 to $16 base for #1 size A reds. All indications are pointing that prices should begin rising the second half of the season based on dwindling supplies both here and in competing growing regions. Yellow prices have already seen a $1.00 push up in recent weeks, now a firm $18.50 for #1 size A’s.