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UPGC Report: Western provinces lead surge in Canadian potato storage holdings

The United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) has released its February 2024 Holdings Report, revealing a significant increase in total Canadian potato storage holdings compared to the previous year. The report indicates that the total holdings in Canada on February 1, 2024, amounted to 74,031 million hundredweight (cwt), marking an 8.2% rise over February 2023, well above the five-year average.

The higher stock levels are primarily observed in the western provinces, particularly in the processing sector, while Quebec, PEI, and New Brunswick are showing lower stocks compared to the same period last year.

The lower stocks in the eastern provinces are partly attributed to higher cull rates resulting from a wet growing season and harvest, causing storage issues. Despite Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia reporting higher stocks in the fresh sector, the overall fresh inventories are down by just over 5% for the country.

The seed sector also saw a decrease in overall stocks, with extra seed in some provinces offset by reduced inventories in others.

Image credit Victoria Stamper

In the processing sector, there was a substantial increase in overall inventory compared to February 2023, with the majority held in Alberta and Manitoba. However, the stock levels in the eastern provinces are down, indicating decent movement but also impacted by higher cull rates and a smaller initial pile.

Disappearance in the seed sector has been slower than usual, with expectations of the pace picking up in February.

The report also highlights the disappearance for January 2024, indicating that total disappearance in Canada was almost on track with January 2023. While both the fresh and processing sectors were in line with last year, the seed sector was well behind pace.

The overall pace of movement based on disappearance levels seems to be good, which is promising for low carryover into the new crop.

The UPGC is closely monitoring the impact of “Potato Lovers Month” in Idaho and russet promotions in the US, which could potentially affect exports. Additionally, there are concerns about the large inventories remaining in the processing sector and the need for a higher pace of movement.

The report provides valuable insights into the current state of potato storage holdings in Canada, reflecting regional variations and potential implications for the industry. As the potato market continues to evolve, stakeholders will be closely watching these trends and their impact on supply and demand dynamics.

Source: United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC). Read the full report here
Victoria Stamper, General Manager
Cover image: Credit Victoria Stamper

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