IDAHO PRODUCTION UP 12 PERCENT
Idaho's potato production is expected to total 131 million cwt, up 12 percent from last year's 116 million cwt and 1 percent above the 2007 crop, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Planted acres of 320,000 and harvested acres of 319,000 are up 15,000 acres from 2008. Statewide, yield is 411 cwt (field-run basis), up 28 cwt from last year and 25 cwt more than the previous record of 386 achieved in 2006. Yield in the 10 Southwestern counties, at 500 cwt, decreased 40 cwt from 2008. Acreage for the 10 Southwest counties, at 19,000 acres planted and harvested, increased 4,000 acres from last year. Because of the acreage increase, total production in the area is up 17 percent from last year at 9.50 million cwt.
In Idaho's "other counties," yield is estimated at 405 cwt, compared to 375 cwt a year ago. This is the highest yield recorded for this area. Other area production from 300,000 harvested acres is expected to total 122 million cwt, 12 percent above last year's 108 million cwt. Data from the Potato Objective Yield Survey shows that 23.2 percent of the 2009 crop russet potatoes were at least ten ounces, down from 28.1 percent that reached that size in 2008. Of the Russet potatoes in the 2009 sample, 76.6 percent met the 2.0 inch or 4 oz. minimum size and grade requirements for U.S. No. 1 potatoes, up from 70.3 percent last year.
Processing grade and U.S. No. 2 potatoes, with a 1.5 inch minimum, accounted for 17.3 percent of the 2009 crop. The Potato Objective Yield Survey also shows that the Russet Burbank variety accounts for 56.2 percent of the potato acreage planted in Idaho. Ranger Russet accounts for 15.0 percent of plantings and Russet Norkotah is 14.6 percent of the total. Premier Russet, at 2.8 percent, and Western Russet, at 2.3 percent, complete the top five varieties planted in Idaho for the 2009 crop. Other published varieties include Umatilla Russet, at 1.7 percent, Shepody, at 1.6 percent, Alturas, at 1.2 percent, and Frito-Lay varieties, at 1.0 percent.
Nationally, production of fall potatoes for 2009 is forecast at 392 million cwt, up 3 percent from a year ago. Area harvested, at 919,900 acres, is virtually unchanged from last year. The average yield for the fall crop is estimated at 426 cwt per acre, up 15 cwt from last year and, if realized, will be the highest yield on record.