Florida Harvest Looks Strong

Published online: Apr 08, 2015 Potato Harvesting Doug Ohlemeier
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LAKE WALES, Fla.Florida potato growers are packing their heaviest volume of the season.

Demand and movement remain strong from mid-March through the end of April, the deal’s largest volume period, grower-shippers report.

Denton McNamara, a salesman with the Winter Park-based South Florida Potato Growers Exchange, said production is strong enough that he doesn’t expect a gap between southern and northern Florida, which often occurs.

“The crops in south Florida are beautiful,” he said March 30. “We don’t foresee anything (detrimental) happening unless the rain holds some back, and we expect quality to be good throughout.”

Production of reds and yellows in west-central Florida’s Parrish area east of Tampa remains strong and though northern Florida experienced some heavy rains, the crop there looks good too, McNamara said.

In late March, McNamara said prices for reds were increasing while the yellow market remains high as growers weren’t producing enough of them. He said movement remains strong across all colors.

For Mack Farms Inc., the season is looking good as harvesting increases to promotable levels, said general manager Ken Wiles.

“Demand is strong and quality looks good,” he said in late March. “The later crop we’re coming into looks really good. Everyone is saying quality is good this year.”

Wiles characterized sizings as average and said growers are harvesting a favorable range of sizes.

He said he expects demand and pricing to increase as buyers consume more storage crop potatoes.

On March 30, the USDA reported these prices for Florida:

  • Round red U.S. 1 baled 5 10-pound film bags of As: $11.75-12.75
  • 50-pound cartons size A: $10.25-12, Bs, $18-20
  • Creamers, ¾- to 1-5/8  inch, $30-35.75
  • 50-pound sacks size A: $8.75-10.50, Bs, $16.50-18.50
  • Tote bags approximately 2,000 pounds per cwt. size A, $15.50-18.50

On whites, the USDA reported:

  • 50-pound cartons of As, $16.50-22.25, Bs, $10.25-16
  • Creamers, $40.75-50.75
  • 50-pound sacks of As, $15-20.75, Bs, $8.75-14.50

For yellows:

  • 50-pound cartons of As, $20.25-22, Bs, $10.25-14.25
  • Creamers, $40-50.75
  • 50-pound sacks of As, $18.75-20, Bs, $8.75-12.75

Southern Florida typically harvests from early February through May, while northern Florida production in the Hastings and Palatka areas usually starts in mid-April and runs through mid-June.

Overall, Florida’s acreage remains similar, Wiles said.


Source: The Packer