Reds Could Enjoy 2016 Uptick

Published online: Jan 18, 2016 Tad Thompson, The Produce News
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The overall mood of several Red River Valley red potato shippers reflected substantial disappointment with low prices as 2015 shipping drew to a close. However, streaks of optimism simmered based on several points.

These grower-shippers reported weeks ago that Quebec potato shippers were unloading large volumes into the East Coast markets that are critically important to North Dakota and Minnesota growers positioned along the Red River of the North.

A poor U.S. dollar exchange rate was encouraging the import of Canadian potatoes.

Red potato competitors in Wisconsin tend to ship their crop early; a large volume of Wisconsin red potatoes was certainly significant in stocking U.S. retail shelves and restaurant plates in 2015.

Wisconsin shipments were slowing late in 2015, and indications were Quebec’s filling of the East Coast and Midwest markets was also decreasing.

Thus came hopes for improved prices for Red River Valley shippers as January rolled in.

Many Red River Valley packers have experienced growth cracks. These are graded out, so the overall quality shipped is not affected. But lost potential fresh market sales prove a setback for these potato suppliers.

Lower pack-out reduces the total volume of the 2015 crop to be shipped. But entering 2016, there was still an abundance of Red River Valley red potatoes to be sold.

The Dec. 15 USDA Market News report for Red River Valley potatoes indicated that movement was expected to decrease slightly.

Trading was fairly slow and prices generally unchanged. Round Red U.S. 1, 50-pound cartons, size A, were mostly $8-$8.25. Size A tote bags weighing approximately 2,000 pounds were, per hundredweight, mostly $10-$10.50.

 

Source: The Produce News