United Potato Growers of Idaho is strongly urging growers to plant fewer acres in 2006. With potato consumption likely to continuing to decline because of demographics and eating habits, and potato yields continuing to increase about 3.7 cwt per acre each year, the industry needs to recognize these trends and respond accordingly.
The 2005 fresh production was reduced by 7 percent nationally, but declining consumption and retail inventories offset most of the reduction. Unusual weather and drought concerns impacted planting and production in 2005, but similar conditions are not expected this year.
Historically, growers overplant after a good price year. Following the 2001 year when prices were high, Idaho growers planted more than 25,000 incremental acres resulting in serious oversupply and plummeting prices.
United of Idaho reminds growers that planting less means more. Growers have an opportunity to create a second year of profitability if they can limit plantings to the 2005 levels or lower. The above indicators suggest reducing acreage more than 10 percent to offset the probable increases in yield and the likely decreases in demand.
Growers are invited to contact United of Idaho at (208) 535-8500 or visiting www.unitedpotato.com to find out how they can be part of the solution.