Canadian growers harvested a record potato crop in 2021, as production rose 18.2% year over year to 123.1 million hundredweight, on account of increases in both seeded area and yield, according to a report released by Statistics Canada today.
New Brunswick (+58.3% to 18.2 million hundredweight) and Alberta (+5.2% to 24.6 million hundredweight) both reported record production, as seeded areas rose to meet growth in processing demand. Prince Edward Island produced the largest share of Canadian potatoes (23.2%), followed by Alberta (20.0%) and Manitoba (19.6%).
Seeded area was up or unchanged from 2020 in all provinces, reaching 386,309 acres nationally (+7.4%) in 2021. In particular, increases in Alberta (+14.7%), New Brunswick (+9.2%) and Manitoba (+9.1%), were observed, following the expansion of processing facilities, and as demand for processing potatoes returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Favourable weather conditions during the harvest season in most parts of the country allowed Canadian producers to harvest the vast majority (98.9%) of the total seeded area. Compared with 2020, harvested area was up 7.4% to 381,912 acres, on par with the increase in seeded area.
Nationally, Statistics Canada says in its report that the average yield increased to 322.2 hundredweight per acre in 2021, up 10.1% from the previous year. Favourable growing conditions, as well as increased seeding of higher-yielding processing varieties, helped boost yields in the Eastern provinces.
Meanwhile, in Western Canada, yields generally dropped due to ongoing drought conditions and extreme heat, particularly in Alberta, where yields fell to 363.0 hundredweight per acre (-10.1%).
Despite this decrease, Alberta reported the highest average yield across Canada, followed by New Brunswick (+47.4% to 350.0 hundredweight per acre) and Prince Edward Island (+33.0% to 334.4 hundredweight per acre).