Published online: Jul 23, 2008
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Growers across the United States planted an estimated 1.06 million acres of potatoes in all four seasons this year, down 8 percent from last year and 7 percent below 2006.

USDA NASS says the area for harvest, forecast at 1.04 million acres, is also down 8 percent from 2007 and is 7 percent below two years ago.

The area planted to fall potatoes for 2008 is estimated at 929,100 acres, down 8 percent from last year and 7 percent below 2006. The harvested area is forecast at 916,200 acres, also down 8 percent from 2007 and 7 percent from 2006.

"The decrease in planted acreage can partly be attributed to higher prices from competing crops, which influenced growers to plant crops other than potatoes," the service says in a statement.

Growers in Idaho have planted an estimated 300,000 acres in 2008, down 14 percent from the 350,000 acres planted in 2007. Harvested acres, at 299,000, are also down 14 percent from a year ago. This is the smallest amount potato acreage in Idaho since 1980.

In the 10 southwest counties, planted and harvested acres are estimated at 15,000 acres, down 6,000 acres from 2007. This is the fewest potato acres in the 10 southwest counties since 1963.

Acres for harvest in the state's other counties are expected to total 284,000 acres from 285,000 planted acres. This is a 13 percent decrease from last year's 329,000 acres planted in other counties.

Potatoes planted in Idaho are estimated to be 2 percent red, 3 percent white, 1 percent yellow and 94 percent Russet. Based on a special growers' survey, acreage intended to be marketed through fresh channels accounted for 57 percent of the total planted. Acreage intended to be marketed directly to a processor accounted for 33 percent, and acreage to be marketed or used for seed was at 10 percent.

Washington producers planted 6 percent fewer acres than a year ago. Oregon growers decreased acreage 3 percent from last year and the crop was one to two weeks behind normal.

Planted acres in Colorado dropped 4 percent. A storm at the end of June caused wind and hail damage to some of the acres. Montana's fall potato acres are down 4 percent and Nevada's acres decreased 14 percent.

California producers increased acreage by 10 percent and farmers in New Mexico planted 15 percent more acres. North Dakota's planted acreage declined 14 percent from last year, while planted acres fell 4 percent in Minnesota, went up 5 percent in Michigan and were unchanged in Wisconsin.

Ohio producers reduced acres 22 percent and growers in Nebraska decreased acreage 5 percent. Maine's planted area is down 4 percent and growers in New York planted 5 percent fewer acres.

The acreage in Pennsylvania increased 5 percent, while Massachusetts fell 4 percent. Rhode Island's planted area is estimated at 500 acres, 100 acres below last year.