Potato producers enjoying a decent season and prices looking good

Potato prices are expected to rise with this year’s average crop, 
bringing them back in line with the cost of production

Manitoba’s potato crop is doing well, despite major problems south of the border.

Poor weather is expected to significantly cut yields in North and South Dakota, but Manitoba producers say, despite a late start, they still expect a solid potato crop this year.

“That’s probably taken the top end of our yield off, but the crop is looking good,” said Wayne Kroeker, CEO of Kroeker Farms near Winkler.

“For Manitoba, I’d say we’re going to have an average to maybe even slightly above-average crop for table potatoes,” added Larry McIntosh, CEO and president of Peak of the Market.

Although excess moisture caused more damage to the red potato crop in the Dakotas and Minnesota than originally expected, Kroeker said that shouldn’t affect the province’s potato stocks, which are on the same storage cycle as those just south of the Manitoba border.

However, table potatoes have been in short supply since Manitoba producers shipped their last spuds in the spring.

“The last few months have been quite short on table potatoes, but it’s coming back into balance now,” said Kroeker, explaining potatoes sold in the province over the off-season ship from places like Florida and California, where potato yields have also been down.

Manitoba’s potato producers should also see better prices, which were low last year because of surplus production.

“I think prices will be back into balance again,” said Kroeker. “Last year’s prices were extremely low, well below the cost of production. So if you have a little bit above-average prices and a little bit above-average crop that’s always good.”

Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives also reports good news on the tuber front: no late blight or flare-ups of other diseases. Aphid pressure has been very low as well, which is helpful to seed potato growers in producing a good-quality seed with low or zero potato mosaic disease. A few days with temperatures above 30 C earlier in the season caused some stress during sprouting, but cooler temperatures are now aiding the potato crop.

About the author

Reporter

Shannon VanRaes is a journalist and photojournalist at the Manitoba Co-operator. She also writes a weekly urban affairs column for Metro Winnipeg, and has previously reported for the Winnipeg Sun, Outwords Magazine and the Portage Daily Graphic.

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