Normally this time of year, Bill and Peggy would be sending their potatoes to be planted. Summer heat and limited rainfall have eaten into expected potato production in Maine, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (PEI). Bill: We already had the ground prepared, and we raise most of our own seed and buy some, so, I mean, you might as well just carry on. Experts fear a 12-week gap could open up in the UK supply in 2020 as a result of the loss of the main chemical used on stored spuds. It's the supply chain from the growers to the supermarket that got interrupted. Zak: It takes a tremendous amount of capital to grow a crop of potatoes. Rainfall is critical for this crop. Just, some fry better, they have a better color to them. Narrator: All in all, an estimated 1.5 billion pounds of potatoes are trapped in the supply chain across the US. A shortage of french fries could be coming, Bloomberg reported Monday. But this year's, there's just no market for them, and we're just taking them out, taking them into a burial pit. For the first time, the Interior Ministry, which runs the police, has begun selling potatoes at reduced prices, drawing long lines of customers. Narrator: But all of that effort barely made a dent in the number of stranded potatoes. Egypt’s police are stepping in to fight a potato shortage that has caused prices for the staple to double at a time when Egyptians are struggling with steadily rising food costs. PEI growers have not been able to dig new irrigation wells since 2001. They said it’s due to cold weather that shortened the harvest season. Extremely cold weather and storm systems have and will continue to put a strain on the Idaho potato industry as a whole for the upcoming year. If you didn't, you'd have quit a long time ago. Panic buying linked to the coronavirus has boosted retail demand for fresh potatoes and frozen products this week. UK consumers may face a home-grown potatoes shortage next year as stocks run out due to new storage rules. Supplies of russet table potatoes are likely to tighten as fryers pull Russet Burbank potatoes away from that sector. Unlike their North American counterparts, EU fryers have a surplus of raw potatoes to draw from and plenty of capacity to expand their output. If we'd have anticipated COVID wrong and had a short crop, a very small crop, it would have been devastating to food hunger. The great french fry shortage of 2020 may be upon us. That's money out of our pocket, trying to find another use of the spuds. In bad years, you just start over the next year and hope for a better, you know, better season. It's an expense just to get rid of them. Since mid-June, potato prices have been on average 46% higher than in the same period last year. They averaged 3.2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal from June through September, peaking at 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit above normal during July. Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? The losses in eastern growing areas complicate that outlook. Jules Suzdaltsev 12 months ago Potato growers … Acreage cuts in other parts of North America, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, already had created a tight supply outlook for the 2020-21 marketing season. Peggy: We've put them into this pile and mixed straw, then we're gonna put plastic over the top of it and let it get totally broke down by next fall. She's distributed them down on our street in town, just set up and people stop, they give them a bag of potatoes. Which cookies and scripts are used and how they impact your visit is specified on the left. That is likely to boost russet prices and to create an umbrella for prices for other table potatoes. Seed potatoes make their way through a … The rains came too late for most potatoes, but some Russet Burbank fields still had enough green left to benefit. The 2020 lifting window has come with its own challenges for the British potato industry, but relative to 2019 it’s certainly been more straightforward for most. That's a fairly rigorous process that avoids disease, imperfections. Subscriber And just to try to get somebody to benefit from them. US experiencing shortage of potatoes used for French fries. Oct 20, 2020, 02:18 PM facebook. Friday, 20 March 2020. At the behest of processors, growers across North America cut back on 2020 potato acreage. Manitoba could be facing another potato shortage. For farmers across Idaho and Montana, that number comes to $8 million. A potato paucity is upon us, and French fry aficionados are worried. In North Carolina, that rate is $12.67 an hour. It's about $1 less in Florida and $2 more in California. Jul 31, 2019. Processing contract volume reductions anticipated a larger drop in French fry sales than the industry is experiencing. I mean, between our time and labor and renting a large excavator to dig the hole and cover them, I mean, it's not free just to throw them away to us. New Brunswick has no irrigation for its potato crop. twitter. email. So why did this all happen? We're in the small town of Sheridan, Montana, on a potato farm. Zak Miller: More than half of our market shut down by government mandate. This site uses functional cookies and external scripts to improve your experience. The EU’s exports of frozen potato products to the U.S. have tripled during the last two years. Bill Buyan: The potatoes have been awful good to us for a lot of years, but this year it just really turned sour. Cold weather and the impact of Hurricane Dorian have damaged potato crops in the United States and Canada. Once the potatoes are out of the ground, they go into storage or are sent to a factory, where they're cleaned and turned into either fresh or processed potatoes. UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 3, 2019. Growers responded to contract volume reductions by cutting acreage accordingly or by shifting to varieties not generally used in French fry production. Crop losses resulting from a drought in Maine, New Brunswick and PEI will exacerbate an already short processing potato supply situation. Bill: When you put all your work and effort into growing them and the expense and the pride of what you grow, and then to just completely just throw it away and waste it. by The Counter. Final yield data were not available at press time, but we have not been picking up reports of spectacular yields for any growing areas. Growers responded to contract volume reductions by cutting acreage accordingly or by shifting to varieties not generally used in French fry production. Further expansion is likely this year. Potato crops in Maine, New Brunswick and PEI experienced extreme heat throughout the growing season. 2020’s latest (but least surprising) shortage: antacids. Account active In … Now they're facing a 20-year low. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories, coronavirus business & economic impact analysis, When COVID-19 closed down restaurants and hotels, potatoes headed toward food service had, It had a chain effect down to processors and growers, trapping, While farmers across Idaho and Montana have. Zak says a 100-pound sack of potatoes went from costing about $12 a sack to $3 a sack, and a farmer needs it to cost at least $5 to break even. The industry planned to be using storage potatoes through September and possibly into October. Growers need about two weeks of favourable weather for harvest, otherwise thousands of acres will remain in the ground this winter. Bill: She's organized two or three giveaway days, and we've had pickups from 100 miles away, people come and got potatoes. This year, the capacity issue has been replaced by the raw product supply shortfall. Narrator: That's the bag of potato chips, the french fries at McDonald's, or the precut fries in the frozen section. And more than half of the industry's potatoes were stranded on seed farms. Potato growers and shippers are working overtime to keep American grocery stores stocked with enough spuds to meet skyrocketing consumer demand during the coronavirus pandemic. The impact of this year’s processing potato supply shortfall will extend beyond the market for finished products. Narrator: That's foods like a raw potato at a grocery store or au gratin potatoes at your favorite restaurant. An unusually cold and wet potato harvest season may lead to a French fry shortage in the US. We visited Buyan Ranch, where Peggy and Bill have been growing potato seed for 59 years. Bill: We had high hopes that maybe something would turn up, you know? News. Processing contract volumes dropped 15 percent to 20 percent on average, though the largest cuts were in the Columbia Basin. Others grow better. Zak: Even though they're losing money on them, they'd rather see someone eat them than nothing happen at all. Processing Potato Supply Shortfall. If you're a process grower, you'll grow a different product line. Scattered showers created variable crop conditions, but in general crops received about 50 percent of normal rainfall from June through August. Crop losses in the Atlantic growing region will exacerbate an already tight potato supply situation. Zak: The other side of that is - we call it our process segment. International demand for potatoes and potato products continues to increase, particularly in Asia, and U.S. demand for processed potatoes is increasing. Narrator: Peggy and Bill have been forced to bury 1.4 million pounds of potatoes in total. That in a month or so, we might be able to send them somewhere for some kind of processing. Zak: If you're a fresh-product grower, you'll plant a different variety, or a different genetic line of potatoes. About 15 percent of Maine’s crop is irrigated, but this year’s severe drought will take a toll on the remaining fields. In Peggy's case, her customers in Washington were cut back more than 50%, and she and Bill were stuck with tons of seed they'd normally sell. Zak: Virtually all the potatoes grown started out from a certified seed. However, the remnants of Hurricane Teddy brought PEI general rainfall in excess of 2 inches on Sept. 22-23. The situation changes every day, but potato acres in Canada and the United States could take a dramatic hit in 2020. Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you'd like to share? They are exercising their rights of first refusal on any contract overages. Peggy and Bill are facing $140,000 in losses. Their actions are likely to impact other industry sectors. For a small operation, for us. The industry experienced major harvesttime crop losses in North Dakota and the Canadian Prairies in 2019. Fryers may experiment with other russet table potato varieties in hopes of finding some that will make acceptable product. The supply of those potatoes is limited primarily to Idaho and PEI. Save for later. Share. Share ; By. Bill Bostock 12/2/2019 Despite Trump’s pressure, most Americans think it is unsafe to reopen schools, Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Potato crop damage due to cold and wet weather is causing a shortage of the starchy tuber in North America, which may affect the availability and price of french fries. Bankruptcies are starting to creep up. Peggy and Bill are facing $140,000 in losses. You don't actually see the potato; you see the byproduct or the end result of that. Market Alert – Potato Shortage Continues. Narrator: Luckily, Zak says all this food waste won't lead to a shortage next year. Canadian Potato Crop Update August 20, 2020 provided by the United Potato Growers of Canada. It's pretty devastating, you know? The U.S. potato industry has been in a fight in recent decades, a fight against negative public perception. The biggest cuts took place in the Columbia Basin, which produces the largest potato yields in the world. Peggy: Right now it's, like, 200,000, roughly, in there, with everything, I would say. … Business Insider visited a potato seed farm in Sheridan, Montana, to understand the emotional and financial impact this has had on farmers Peggy and Bill Buyan. Processors are working to minimize the impact of this year’s raw product shortfall. Out of options, the growers cut their orders with seed farmers. We expect them to expand early-season production in 2021 and to encourage that harvest get under way as early as possible. At a glance. Zak: If I was advising a year ago, not knowing what was gonna happen, I wouldn't have told them to do anything differently than they did now. However, the limited decline is misleading. Narrator: These potatoes aren't gonna end up on your dinner table. Irish chippers could face a potato shortage due to Brexit. I guess that's kind of the farm and ranch. Brexit food shortages: What to stockpile as no-deal Brexit looms NO-DEAL BREXIT is now looking like a distinct possibility for the UK at the end of this year. In recent years, North American fryers have been unable to commit to supplying several small and mid-sized customers with frozen potato products needed to enter or expand their menu offerings. Processors cut down orders with growers. Narrator: To save some of the potatoes from going to waste, Buyan Ranch got creative. You may change your settings at any time. Precision farming: Yield and field-to-storage load monitoring on a Canadian potato farm December 9, 2020 Have you seen the headline claiming there is a french fry shortage across the nation? That increases the harvested area in places with relatively low potato yields. 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