Tight Potato Supplies May Lead To August Gap

Published online: Jun 17, 2022 Articles Greg Johnson, Director of Media Development, Blue Book Services
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Idaho potato shippers are running through their supplies from storage, and already the Norkotah crop has been exhausted, leaving Burbank variety until new crop arrives.

A crop update from Markon Cooperative BB #:123315 this week said, “Burbanks will be the sole variety on the market until new crop Norkotahs become available in August. Prices are up as suppliers continue to work to extend remaining stocks. All counts will remain limited until new crop production begins. Some suppliers do foresee a potential 7-14 day gap in early August.”

New crop Norkotah harvesting is expected to begin in early August.

Storage supplies are available from many growing areas besides Idaho, including Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

USDA reports prices rising slightly over the past few months, with 50-pound cartons of Russets size 90 ranging from $13-17 in mid-June depending on the region. Prices were $11-16 in mid-March.

Markon said remaining storage potatoes have had a few quality problems such as shoulder bruising and hollow heart.

“Pressure and shoulder bruising (soft, external indents) result from constant contact with adjacent potatoes, or the floor, while raw product sits in storage piles,” the report said. “Hollow heart (small, irregularly shaped internal craters) develops internally during the season when potatoes grow faster than normal due to adverse weather.”