For the growing year 2009-2010, United Potato Growers of Idaho projects that statewide potato acreage equals 315,000 acres, an increase of 4.6 percent over the acres counted by United in 2008-2009.
United announced this year's acreage results at the All?Grower Summer Meetings, July 8. Prior to United's actual acreage count, Idaho potato growers relied solely on the acreage survey conducted by the National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS). With the annual count, Idaho's potato growers have a real versus statistical count of all potato acres planted in Idaho.
"While acreage went up this year, our data collection confirms that at least 10,000 acres of the increase are contracted acres," said Jerry Wright, CEO and President of United. "We commend growers for doing such a good job keeping their fresh acres in check."
United of Idaho's successful acreage count last year created an opportunity for other United chapters-Washington, Oregon, WIsconsin and Colorado-to use the same process and software to count their potato acres this year, too. Results from their acreage counts will be available in the coming weeks.
Knowing the acreage count gives growers much?needed information for the upcoming market season. If a grower knows the number of acres potentially available to the market, better decisions can be made more about when to sell or to hold the crop, increasing the grower's profit potential. The marketplace also responds to this kind of information, as highlighted by the market's reaction with the release of NASS's survey number every year. United's data collection efforts don't end with the acreage count.
"Starting in August, we'll conduct field digs to get an idea of the potential yield for this year's crop,"
continued Wright. "We'll be able to estimate how growing conditions this year have impacted the yield, including areas hit by the June hailstorms. Our hope is this information will help growers have a better understanding of what to expect in the early market and throughout the remainder of the season."