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Surplus spuds: U.S. potato harvest hits new highs, causing sharp drop in producer prices

US potato farmers grew nearly 20 million tonnes of the crop in 2023, a jump of 9% from last year and the first time since 2017 that production increased for America’s most widely consumed vegetable, according to a report by Gro Intelligence.

This growth in potato production has led to a surplus, reducing prices for food manufacturers. According to Gro’s Commodities Tracker, the US faces a “Low” Supply Risk Level for potatoes, indicating stable supply and prices. Producer prices for potatoes have fallen by over 50% since last July.

Supermarkets are offering discounts on frozen french fries, a contrast to the COVID pandemic period. A major fast-food chain has even introduced a “Free Fries Friday” promotion. This abundance is attributed to expanded potato acreage in Idaho, Colorado, and North Dakota, up 3.3% from last year. Improved growing conditions, especially in Idaho, have also contributed, with potato yields in Idaho and Washington increasing by 5% and 6%, respectively.

The year’s bigger potato crop also has contributed to greater US exports, which are up 6% year to date compared to a year earlier. Top markets include Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Taiwan. However, potato imports have decreased by 20% in the July-September period, despite being 10% higher year to date. In contrast, Canadian potato production is slightly above last year’s record, despite higher drought levels.

Source: Gro Intelligence. Read the full story here
Cover photo: Credit stanbalik from Pixabay

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