Canadian Production Slips Slightly
Canadian potato production slipped slightly in 2004, despite the first decline in acres in 16 years and the fact growers were unable to harvest 11,100 acres.
Statistics Canada said total production in 2004 was estimated at 5.2 million tons, down from 5.3 million tons the year before. The decline was kept to a minimum because of record high yields, mainly in Quebec and Alberta.
Bad weather and disease pressure kept growers from harvesting over 11,000 acres. Growers planted 443,000 acres, down 5.4 percent from 2003 and the first decline since 1988.
However, the national record for yield was broken for the second year in a row. Growers nationwide harvested 30.39 tons an hectare (about 12.3 tons an acre), up from 29.17 (11.8) in 2003.
Alberta growers set a record high of 39.18 tons an hectare (15.86 tons an acre or 259 cwt).
An unusually wet summer and warm harvest conditions in New Brunswick contributed to the abandonment of about 2,900 acres. The adverse conditions also led to unusually high cullage of the harvested potatoes.
Overall, Prince Edward Island growers accounted for 25 percent of this year's production, Manitoba 20 percent, and Alberta 18 percent. Statistics Canada said it was too early to estimate the value of the crop but the 2003 crop was worth C$882.8 million.