Potato production in the Northwest was strong in 2019, and the outlook for 2020 looks similar, said Chris Voigt, executive director of the Moses Lake-based Washington State Potato Commission. “We had a good harvest of the 2019 crop, great quality, strong yields, and strong pricing for our growers and shippers,” he said. Jim Offner reports for The Packer.
Washington and Oregon rank second and third, respectively, among the 50 states in potato production, with processing accounting for as much as 90% of production. Demand has been strong, for both processed and fresh product, Voigt said.
Growing conditions for the 2020 crop have been “outstanding — not too hot, not too cold,” Voigt said. “We do have a higher-than-normal presence of beet leaf hoppers, which is an insect that can transmit a disease called purple top, which can affect yield,” Voigt said. However, he said the commission can track insect populations and movement throughout the Columbia Basin.
The ongoing pandemic of the new coronavirus COVID-19 remained perhaps the top concern across the industry, said Gary Roth, executive director of the Portland-based Oregon Potato Commission.
“I’d say 80-85% of what Oregon grows goes to processing, and the pullback in the foodservice market has affected all potato growers in the Northwest and the nation,” he said.
Source: Read the full report in The Packer
Photo: Courtesy Washington State Potato Commission