In mid-June, a Crop Transition Conference was held in Minneapolis to get a reading on old crop potatoes and what conditions are for spring planting. Kevin MacIsaac, general manager, for the United Potato Growers of Canada shares the survey results. He notes that potato seeded acreage will be known when Statistics Canada releases survey results on July 18.
As of June 18, most of the Prince Edward Island potato crop was planted. The season is at least a week to 10 days late due to cold and wet soil conditions.
Major packers are able to supply their main customers. Prices on 10’s are currently $3.25 FOB compared to a year ago at $2.48.
The spring was also late in New Brunswick with planting finishing about June 7. The processing sector expects another 1,000 acres of plantings.
The weather story was much the same in Quebec. Most of the crop is seven to 10 days behind, with the exception of the area north of Montreal which is three to four days late. There has been some replanting due to seed piece decay in wetter soils. MacIsaac reports an increase of a thousand acres for fresh potatoes and the same number for processing. As with the other eastern provinces, applications are outstanding for Agri-Recovery funds on last year’s crop issues.
Old crop holdings are tight in Ontario, particularly with reds. As of June 1, holdings were down 24 per cent compared to a year ago. The early crop in the Leamington area is expected about July 18.
In Manitoba, processing potatoes are in such demand that loads are imported every day from North Dakota and Alberta. Potatoes with quality issues such as colour and decay- related damages due to last fall’s cold are still being disposed. The 2019 planting has received little rain. Lake Assiniboine, a major source of irrigation water is at very low levels with some pumps now being exposed. Acreage estimates are for an increase of 400 acres in the fresh market and 5,500 acres of processing potatoes needed for the new Simplot plant which opens January 2020.
Saskatchewan is unbelievably dry. Potato acreage is expected to be flat or slightly up from last year.
In Alberta, old crop continues to move with processing exports to Manitoba and Prince Edward Island. Although the crop was planted in good time, it needs rain. Irrigation in the south is on allocation so farmers will need to pull water off other crops such as cereals to maintain potato crops. Table acreage is expected to decline this year while processing acres will be up 7,000 acres to feed the new Cavendish plant opening in August 2019.
British Columbia is a bright spot coming out of a good crop in 2018. The early crop was a little late being planted however it is being dug now. Skin set potatoes will be available early July. It has been an almost perfect spring with most planting done by May 20th with good growing conditions. Source : TheGrower