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Slowdown in processing demand, restaurant closures during pandemic caused a drop in Canadian potato production

According to a production report issued by Statistics Canada today, Canadian seeded area declined 1.4% from 2019 to 357,085 acres in 2020, the result of a decrease in demand at processing plants due to the closure of restaurants and bars during the early stages of the pandemic.

Favourable weather conditions during the harvest season allowed the vast majority (98.6%) of the total seeded area to be harvested across Canada. Harvested area increased 3.0% from 2019 to 352,155 acres, because the previous year had poor harvest conditions and large areas of abandonment (20,251 acres) in 2019.

In spite of the increase in harvested area, total potato production decreased 1.3% from 2019 to 104.2 million hundredweight in 2020, a result of low yields from the drought-like growing conditions in many provinces. Manitoba (23.0%) recorded the largest share of potato production, followed by Alberta (22.5%) and Prince Edward Island (20.1%).

Nationally, the average yield decreased 4.2% to 295.9 hundredweight per acre in 2020. Alberta continued to report the highest average yield of 404.0 hundredweight per acre, followed by Manitoba with 337.1 hundredweight per acre. New Brunswick growers reported their lowest yield since 1995 (220 hundredweight per acre), down 23.6% from 2019 to 237.4 hundredweight per acre.

Source: Statistics Canada
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