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UPGC report: Canada brings in another record potato crop in 2022, despite adverse weather and regional variability

Statistics Canada has estimated Canadian Potato Production in 2022 to be 122,970,000 hundred weight, up 0.8% over 2021. Despite a very cold and wet spring delaying planting and very hot, dry weather in many parts of Canada throughout August and into the harvest, Canada still brought in another record crop compared to the 5-year average, a good supply to match the continually increasing demand for processing potatoes both here in Canada and in the United States, reports Victoria Stamper, General Manager of United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC).

Overall Canadian yields increased slightly from 321.6 cwt./acre in 2021 to 322.4 cwt./acre in 2022. There was a great deal of variability across Canada and even between areas within provinces for the 2022 crop as reported in the November update report from UPGC.

UPGC’s latest crop report issued on December 7, 2022 is republished below with permission and thanks.

Prince Edward Island:

Despite Fiona causing delays starting storage harvest, excellent weather after the storm enabled growers to make up time and harvest was completed on time (some even earlier than normal). Although most growers saw a better than average crop last year, when all is said and done with this year’s harvest PEI reported a yield even slightly higher at 324.8 compared to 322 in 2021.

Although moisture level differences between the western and eastern parts of the island did cause some variability in the crops, the conditions for harvest were very good overall, and even with planted acreage for PEI down just over 5,000 acres for this year’s crop, reported potato production for the province came in only slightly lower than last year by about -2.2%, which is less than the -5% originally estimated.

New Brunswick:

New Brunswick has reported yields down from last year but overall a decent crop. Harvest conditions were generally good and without very cold temperatures. There does not seem to be an over supply of potatoes this year and there has been some low gravity issues reported, forecasting processors to increase the quantity required, so we are not sure we will see movement of potatoes west as we did last year.

Similar to PEI, production was reported lower than last year at -6.6%, better than our estimate in November of -7.7%, and still very good crop compared the 5 year average production in the province.

Quebec:

The fresh potato harvest in Quebec was completed with some delays due to very cold temperatures in the evenings and mornings shortening the actual time in the field. Overall growers seem happy with the crop, especially after such a cold and wet spring for planting, and are reporting good quality, however growers are seeing only average yields and a bit smaller size profile with this year’s yield reported at 308.7 compared to 308 cwt in 2021.

With an increase of 5.8% in potato production this year due to increased planted acreage and a very good harvest, Quebec supply continues to be well above the 5-year average for the second year in a row.

Ontario:

All potatoes in Ontario are now under storage and the crop is looking good overall.      There were differences reported regionally in yields, with some disappointed and others with average to even above average results, which perhaps may be attributed to a very dry growing season for the province and not all farms with irrigation. High temperatures through August and into September did finally break for harvesting and growers were able to bring in 99.7% of the crop based on the reported harvested acreage.

Although Ontario did show a decrease in potato production for 2022 of 8.9% as we estimated in November, due to decreased planted acreage and variable reports on yields, the province is still well above the 5-year average.

Manitoba:

For the most part reports were very positive for the harvest in Manitoba as conditions were excellent in the fall, especially compared to the serious planting delays of up to 3 weeks in certain areas of the province due to flooding and very cold temperatures. Quality of this crop is good as with most provinces, and the overall yield of 329.8 reported for 2022 is a welcome result after last year.

Potato production for the province is up this year 4.9%, in line with the increase in planted acres from increases in demand in processing and seed.

Saskatchewan:

Production was reported down 4.5% this year as expected, with a total production of 1,450,000 hundred weight. Saskatchewan acres dropped from 6,300 acres to 6,000 acres this spring. For the most part the weather cooperated very well for the growers for the harvest in Saskatchewan. Quality has been reported as excellent with the province experiencing good growing conditions all season.

The overall yield reported for 2022 for the province was actually an increase over 2021 at 250 cwt/acre, a yield not seen since 2019.

Alberta:

Harvest in Alberta saw favourable weather conditions overall while getting the crop out of the ground. A hailstorm back in July as well as high temperatures through August resulted in early reports of disappointing yields in the province, however the final report overall was positive at 375.9 cwt/acre compared to 363 reported in 2021. Quality is very good but size profile is variable, many reporting smaller than average. The resulting supply is one that may be short of what the processors need and would like to see for the upcoming months.

Despite the mixed reports early on, with the increase in planted acreage this season, and the quantity of potatoes harvested, Alberta did manage the largest increase in potato production in Canada at +8.9% over last year. This larger crop will be welcome with an overall tight supply of processing potatoes in North America this season.

British Columbia:

The province had almost no rain for the last 3 months of the growing season, which when combined with the high temperatures throughout August and into early September was worrisome for many growers.      However, after mid-September the temperatures dropped nicely and conditions for harvest were very good despite some hard ground in certain areas. Due to several factors, including an extremely late planting, high temperatures and little to no precipitation through August, yields are reported as lighter this year, at 320 cwt/acre compared to 325 in 2021, with a smaller size profile overall.

The province was able get a large percentage of the crop out of the ground so the quantity of potatoes going into storage should be better than originally expected early in the season, however with after the surprising decrease of 1,300 planted acres in the spring of 2022 the corresponding decrease of 23.1% in potato production for the province was not completely unexpected.

Source: United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC)
Contact:
Victoria Stamper, General Manager
victoria@unitedpotatocanada.com

Photo: Hilling potatoes in BC. Credit UPGC

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