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Statistics Canada released its first estimate of potato acreage on July 16 from data obtained with a survey of Canadian potato growers.

“Please note that Quebec data was not available during the collection period, so a five-year average of their seeded acreage was used in its place,” comments Kevin MacIsaac, general manager, United Potato Growers of Canada. “Quebec data and corresponding Canadian data will be updated on December 7, when the estimates for harvested area, yield and production are released.”

The 2021 potato acreage is estimated at 378,624 acres. This is an increase of 5.3 per cent above 2020. A year ago, the 2020 acreage had declined below 2019 plantings due to COVID-19 market uncertainty. This year’s increase, predominantly in major processing provinces, helps bring supply in the industry back to meet demand increases in the industry that began pre-COVID.

The acreage of potatoes planted in Canada, is still well below its peak of 457,500 acres which occurred back in 2003.The most significant acreage increases in 2021 occurred in the western provinces of Alberta and Manitoba, where each area has had processing plant expansion in the last two to three years.

Alberta producers planted an additional 7,823 acres (+13.1%). Manitoba growers planted an additional 7,200 acres (10.1%). The third largest increase is in New Brunswick where an additional 4,600 acres (9.2%) are estimated to be planted to help supply a formed line expansion for the fry plant in that province.

Ontario’s increase (5%) is also driven by strong processing demand – for chips, not fries.  Prince Edward Island reports an increase (1.1%) at 84,500 acres as it continues to plant the largest acreage in the country.

The survey has used Quebec’s five-year average of 43,000 acres, however industry expected acreage to be at least equal to last year’s 45,638 acres with demand increases identified for both fresh and processing sectors.

It is also surprising, says MacIsaac, to see a decrease reported in British Columbia (5%) down to 6,000 acres. Acreage in Saskatchewan moves back up closer to traditional levels at 6,200 acres. Nova Scotia reports a decline of 100 acres this year.

Source : United Potato Growers of Canada

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