As the 2020 potato harvest comes to a close, the United Potato Growers of Canada is forecasting a crop that’s down seven per cent from 2019, or 7,000,000 million cwt. This is well below the five-year average reports Kevin MacIsaac, general manager.
“Potato harvest in Canada is complete in most provinces with the exception of Quebec,” says MacIsaac. “They are about 90 per cent done, and hopefully should finish up by October 31 as the weather forecast improves from the wet and cold conditions experienced over the last couple of weeks.”
For the most part, harvest weather was favourable across Canada in contrast to 2019 when 22,500 acres had to be left in the field and also 2018, when 18,000 acres had to be abandoned.
Statistics Canada is currently collecting yield data from potato producers until November 16 with the final production estimate available on December 7. In the meantime, reports from the various provinces could point to a decline of 7,000,000 hundred weight below the 2019 crop due to the hot growing season.
This decline is based on new end-of-harvest information from New Brunswick growers who realized one of their lowest yields on record.
Looking across the various sectors, MacIsaac estimates that fresh production has been shortened up in the provinces of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Table potatoes have been moving from Quebec into New Brunswick for some time now to replenish some of that supply.
French fry plants in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Manitoba will not likely to be able to cover all of their needs without importing potatoes from other areas.
Chip production appears to be up in Ontario and Quebec, and all of that supply is needed to meet increased demand.
Looking ahead to spring 2021 planting, MacIsaac says that seed potato supplies could be tight.
Source: United Potato Growers of Canada October 26, 2020 news release