Numbers included in a new USDA potato stocks report are favorable for the industry, according to Wilder grower Doug Gross, past president of Southern Idaho Potato Cooperative.
In Idaho, potato stocks, totaling 18 million cwt, were up 500,000 cwt, or 3 percent, through June 1 from the prior year. Processors in Idaho and Malheur County, Ore., have used 71.5 million cwt of the 2011 crop, up 20 percent from the prior year.
Washington potato stocks are up by 3.6 million cwt from the prior year. In Oregon, stocks are down 800,000 cwt from the prior year.
Nationally, the 13 major potato states had 43.9 million cwt of potatoes remaining in storage through June 1, 6 percent more than the prior year. Processors in the nine major potato states have used 177 million cwt, 10 percent more spuds than the prior year. Dehydrating accounted for 35.3 million of total processing, 37 percent more than the prior year.
Gross considers the report to be encouraging, especially for Idaho, given recent declines in fresh prices.
"This is still a very positive stocks on hand report for Idaho," Gross said. "Process demand is very strong and should easily use up the excess potatoes. It does not make sense for fresh prices to be where they are."
SOURCE: John O'Connell, Capital Press