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Growers raise prices, tighten shipments to avoid a potato supply gap

Alsum Farms Begins Wisconsin Yellow Potato Harvest
Wisconsin yellow potato harvest is underway at Alsum Farms in Arena, Wis., in August

The danger of a potato supply gap is here, along with high prices.

In an alert this week, Markon Cooperative BB #:123315 said it expects the few remaining sheds with Burbank supplies to empty out their final storage product by early next week.

“The next few weeks will be the most challenging for ordering potatoes on record,” Markon said. “Historic pricing levels will be met daily.”

Some regions are harvesting and shipping new crop, but it will be light volumes for a while.

In Idaho, most suppliers are experiencing a supply gap between storage and new crop, with a limited number of shipments to retain as many stocks as possible.

“Sheds with product need to slow production to stretch volume out over the next few weeks and avoid a supply gap,” Markon said. “Daily size substitutions will be required for best order fulfillment. Expect requested ship dates to be adjusted for allocation. 40- to 80-count stocks remain extremely limited; 90- to 120-count supplies continue to tighten.”

New Crop Potatoes
Washington has started new crop production, but volume is low. A few central Idaho suppliers have begun to harvest in a very limited manner, with the bulk of Idaho production to begin the week of August 22.

“Idaho and Washington growers anticipate early season yields to be dominated by 70- to 90-count potatoes,” Markon reported. “Size profile is not expected to increase until September. There will be limited 40- to 60- count potatoes available. U.S. No. 2 production will be low until potatoes are shipped out of storage, as supplies look their best straight out of the field.”

Colorado and Wisconsin production should begin in September, and limited quantities of Texas potatoes are forecast to ship the week of August 15.

“Expect elevated markets and supply struggles to persist into September,” Markon said.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services