December 02, 2019

America Braces for Possible French Fry Shortage After Poor Potato Harvest

Dana Mathewson

We haven't had an entry in the Provender and Potables section in a long time. So I'm sorry to have to post negative news. We all love "French Fries," and I hate to be the one to tell you the price may be going up. The only possible bright side is they can't reasonably blame this on Global Warming.

Potato processors are rushing to buy supplies and ship them across North America in order to keep French fries on the menu after cold, wet weather damaged crops in key producers in the U.S. and Canada.

Cool conditions started to hit growing regions in October, lashing potatoes with frost. Farmers in Alberta and Idaho were able to dig up some damaged crops for storage. But growers in Manitoba, North Dakota and Minnesota received snow and rain, forcing them to abandon some supplies in fields.

As the wild weather hurt crops, an increase in fry-processing capacity in Canada has boosted demand. The combination will lead to tight supplies, and it’s likely that potato prices could climb this year across North America, Stephen Nicholson, a senior grains and oilseeds analyst at Rabobank, said in a phone interview. International costs may also rise as the U.S. won’t be able to export as much.

"French fry demand has just been outstanding lately, and so supplies can’t meet the demand,” Travis Blacker, industry-relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission, said in a phone interview.

The United Potato Growers of Canada estimates about 12,000 Manitoba acres (about 4,900 hectares), or 18% of the province’s planted area, were left unharvested -- equal to what was abandoned for all of Canada last season. About 6.5% of Alberta’s potatoes are estimated to be frost damaged. Manitoba is the country’s second-largest grower, followed by Alberta. Prince Edward Island is No. 1. The government will issue estimates for the nation’s crop on Dec. 6.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts domestic output will drop 6.1% this year to the lowest since 2010, the agency said in a Nov. 8 report. In Idaho, the top producer, output is forecast to fall 5.5%.

Part of the problem for processors is the crop damage means potatoes are coming in smaller. French-fry makers usually favor longer spuds.

The article continues here:

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 03:55 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
Post contains 389 words, total size 3 kb.

1 Of course they can blame this on global warming, climate change or whatever name it now goes by. Don't you know that these horrendous blizzards and sub-zero temperatures are caused by global warming? Get with the program, son, you are behind the curve on this one.

Posted by: Bill H at December 02, 2019 05:07 PM (vMiSr)

2 I won't, Bill, for two reasons.

1. I remember when the same people yelled and screamed, back in the 70s, that we were headed for a new Ice Age and we had only a few years before it was on us. And

2. I know that these people don't believe any of their own hookum anyhow. Al Gore still lives in his huge house with its huge carbon footprint, and Leo DeCaprio jets all over the place speaking at these True Believers gatherings. If they really believed this stuff they wouldn't behave this way and The Algore would be living in a 730 square foot townhome.
Prove me wrong.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at December 02, 2019 10:49 PM (rIYC+)

3 I thought you would figure out from my past commentary that I was being facetious.

Posted by: Bill H at December 03, 2019 12:20 AM (vMiSr)

4 You're right Bill; it scarcely matters what the unique conditions are. I always say it's the goldilocks theory; if it's too hot, too cold, or just right it must be Global Warming...

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at December 03, 2019 07:40 AM (ubm9I)

5 I know you were being facetious, Bill, but remember that many of our readers (yes, all those who never comment) are much younger and have no subtlety in them, so I have to pick up the slack for them. Otherwise they would be left hanging (oh, what a delicious idea!) and eventually would desert this site for less meaty places such as the Huff-Po, where nothing really means anything.

When I give a reply like I did, I'm not really aiming it at you, I'm trying to educate the scores of millennials who have been told to come here to actually learn something. Well, they DO, don't they? Bill? Tim? Jack?

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at December 03, 2019 10:03 PM (rIYC+)

6 Agreed. Much "disagreement" here is in fact Socratic in nature. Let's all remember that, gang.  I know I often play devil's advocate just for the sake of setting up the arguments for third parties here.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at December 04, 2019 07:11 AM (COhlB)

7 As in "You say "Po-tay-to" and I say "Po-tah-to?"
Bill and the rest of us would probably be dangerous -- or maybe at least loud (as in laughing at each other) in an appropriate bar at a late hour. Actually, only dangerous if there were liberals around, and THEY would be the dangerous ones.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at December 05, 2019 08:53 PM (rIYC+)

8 I'd LOVE for us all to get together at a bar; it'd be a blast!

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at December 06, 2019 07:33 AM (u4v1J)

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