Potato growers mull 2017 acreage

Total Canadian seeded potato acres is down from 355,338 acres in 2013 to 346,827 in 2016 – a  reduction of 8,511 acres. This is in response to decreasing potato consumption.

Cambridge, ON -- Table talk at the recent Ontario Potato Board’s annual general meeting was all about comparing harvests after last summer’s drought. 

Chairperson Glenn Squirrell said, “It appears that the summer crop was off by about 30 per cent in some areas. As a result, pricing was stronger this summer than in the past.  Food for thought – it took a 30 per cent reduction in supplies to move the table market to a reasonable level. What happens next year when we plant the same acreage of potatoes but return to normal production levels?” 

As of November 2016, the Ontario Potato Board recommended a per cwt tablestock price of $22.50, a price that was set earlier in September 2016. Overall, Ontario’s potato market for 2015-2016 was valued at just over $69.4 million. 

Industry observers expect there will be higher interest in crop insurance for 2017.  Only about 30 per cent of Ontario’s potato crop was insured in 2016, compared to about 80 per cent in other provinces.  

This coming winter, the process council will be negotiating five processagreements according to Harry Bradley, process chair. “This will be a challenging set of negotiations as we continue to be challenged by the availability of potatoes from surrounding areas,” he reported. “On a positive note, the continued low value of the Canadian dollar increases the value of Ontario potatoes contracted for the U.S. market and puts imported product from the U.S. at a disadvantage.”

The United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) no longer enjoys the financial support of two potato-producing provinces. Both New Brunswick and Ontario have left this umbrella group which reports monthly stocks on hand, movement, prices, conditions and outlook. This means that real-time statistics from these two provinces are not part of the UPGC national report. As reported by Statistics Canada in the table to the right, New Brunswick’s and Ontario’s seeded acreage represents 24 per cent of the national total. 

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Publish date: 
Friday, January 6, 2017

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