Ask Chris Voigt and he’ll tell you 2018 turned out to be a nearly perfect year for Washington potato growers. He said it started in the spring with great soil moisture levels and not a lot of problems with freezing once the spuds were in the ground. When it got to the dog days of summer, smoke from area wildfires kept daytime highs moderate, which benefited potato development. And he noted growers enjoyed a perfect harvest.
But that’s not the same in other potato growing sections. He noted Europe saw their yields drop by 10%-20% this year, and the upper Midwest struggled as well. Voigt said while this means Northwest growers will have more options for exports, failures in other growing regions can be detrimental to the industry.
“Quite frankly, if we have too short of a crop, and we’ve seen this before, for example Indonesia, like the quick serve restaurant or the fast food restaurants in Indonesia, if there’s a shortage of potato products and the products go to high, guess what those value meals that they might do, instead of French fries with their burger, they’ll use rice.”
Voigt said once that happens it can be it can be very challenging to get that market share back. He added when it comes to the fresh crop, things are looking great as we head into the holidays.
“Stock up now, prices are actually really reasonable on the fresh market right now, but they are likely to go up quite a bit latter, so I’d advise everybody to start buying those potatoes before the holidays start because they’re going to get into short supply.”
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