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David Sparks Ph.d Higher Potatoes
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: November 13, 2017

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Potato market picking up going into Thanksgiving holiday

 

The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is driving demand in the potato market.

 

Eagle produce out of Idaho Falls told The Packer magazine that consumer bags of potatoes are flying off grocery store shelves.

 

“The poly (bag) situation is going to be brutal here in Idaho,” he said.

 

Idaho producers harvested larger potatoes this year and there are fewer small sized potatoes for the small plastic bag market.

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 50-pound cartons of five 10-pound film bags of russet norkotahs spiked from $5.50 per carton on Sept. 5 to $6 per carton by Nov. 1, with russet burbanks at $6.50 per carton for the same pack on Nov. 1. Prices at the same time last year were $4.50 to $5 per carton.

 

Russet norkotah 50-count potatoes were $9 per carton on Nov. 1, compared with $12 for 80 count cartons. Prices for both sizes were well above a year ago when 50 count norkotahs were $5.50 per carton and 80 count norkotahs were $6 per carton in early November.

 

Beahm says everybody has “the big stuff“ and are trying to find the small. “It won’t be a cheap poly year for sure. All your stuff in the middle — your 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s — you can’t find it,” Beahm adds.

 

“Prices are strong for this time of year, and I feel like it is gathering strength,” said Ralph Schwartz, of Potandon Produce.

 

Some think overall production of Idaho potatoes could be down 3% to 5%, according to Schwartz. Another fact is that 20% of the Idaho crop was harvested after the state had several cold days, which likely could result in a higher cull rate for those potatoes.

 

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