The United Potato Growers (UPGC) Board met this week to discuss crop growing conditions, markets, and analysis of the recent potato acreage from Statistics Canada. In a report issued today, UPGC General Manager, Kevin MacIsaac provides a snapshot of crop progress across the country.
Prince Edward Island:
The crop is ahead of same time last year due to earlier planting and excellent growth. Crop stage is at row closure with many fields in blossom. The crop is also at the tuber initiation stage in many fields, so the dry, hot conditions are of concern at this very critical stage. A significant rainfall was received two weeks ago breaking the drought, however more is needed.
Movement of old crop has responded to better demand and improved pricing this month with tens moving up 10 cents on an FOB basis. Fresh sheds are winding down and processors will finish in September. Processors have been able to utilize some seed lots and smaller profile potatoes to help get them to a better level of comfort with their supply.
Based on grower surveys conducted by the PEI Potato Board, acreage had been expected to be down an additional 1,500 acres below the number reported by Statistics Canada.
Growing conditions have been good in NB after a hot and dry month of June. Timely rains have kept the crop growing but more moisture is needed now.
Old crop is cleaning up with limited supply left on the fresh side. Fry plants have been busy with the resumption of demand. The dehy plant has been extremely busy in recent months cleaning up excess supplies originally destined for processing, seed, and table markets.
Stats Canada acreage estimates for NB point to a reduction of 3,900 acres below 2019. Local observers are a bit skeptical about the size of this reduction, however it is widely known that acres were reduced on farms purchased by the local processing company.
The crop looks good thanks to a nice rainfall received a week ago which helped avert a critical moisture situation, but still needs more moisture. In the meantime, those growers that can, are busy irrigating. Early Envols are looking good as more of that acreage tends to be irrigated than with the traditional Superior variety. Plant foliage looks very healthy and growers are continually checking to see how progress is coming along under the hill.
The fresh market has been a little slower as packers have been dealing with a larger supply of old crop russets than originally thought. This is also traditionally a slower time in the market as in addition to reluctance of cooking in hot weather, the entire province of Quebec begins a two-week vacation period for their construction workers. Major ads, particularly on ten pounders, by retailers are helping to clean up the remaining supply.
New crop is coming on now with some growers ready to go for the last week but were waiting to prevent too much disruption as the market transitions from old to new crop.
Statistics Canada has not yet reported an official 2020 potato planted acreage number for Quebec. The estimate provided by Les Producteurs de pommes de terre du Qu