Processing potato crop could be smallest since 2011

2020 potato harvest courtesy of Homer Vander Zaag, Alliston, Ontario

As of September 21, the Canadian potato crop is in varying stages of growth and/or harvest says Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada.  He reports that the production outlook is mixed after parts of eastern Canada experienced one of their driest seasons on record while growers in western Canada work feverishly to harvest their crop.  


Based on current information, it is expected that Canadian production could be off by at least six million hundred weight. If yields do not continue to add weight in late-maturing varieties and the last harvested fields, production decreases could approach 8,500,000 hundred weight below last year’s crop. These estimates assume and hope that all of Canada’s 363,470 planted acres will get harvested. In 2019, growers were unable to harvest 20,230 acres in the country due to cold and wet weather. 


Nothing is for certain until the last potato is in the bin, however this growing season may have changed supply availability in at least two sectors of the industry representing table and processing.

Table production is prominent in the four eastern provinces of Canada. Promising crops in the central region of Quebec and Ontario will not likely be able to cover off the expected decreases out of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. 


Processors also will likely see tightened supply to meet their needs of recently expanded plants in Alberta and Manitoba, with an overall crop projected to be one of the lowest going back to 2011. In addition, fryers were already playing catch up to a market demand radically reduced by COVID-19 in the spring and then coming back sooner than expected this summer. Unfortunately, this occurred after raw product had moved to other channels and contracted volume for the 2020 crop was reduced across North America.


Province-by-province details are here:


Source:  United Potato Growers of Canada September 21, 2020 news release

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Publish date: 
Monday, September 21, 2020

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