Good crop expected in Red River Valley

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PLANT recovery and higher yields have helped offset losses in late June from heavy rain in the Red River Valley.

Ted Kreis, Marketing Director of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association recently revealed: "The crop is coming along very well. We had some losses in late June with heavy rain. We thought we lost 10- to 15% of the crop at that time."

But some of this had now been recovered and it looks like an average-sized crop, Ted said.

Red River Valley growers began harvesting at the beginning of September. Usually the harvest lasts for around eight weeks and the market price for fresh red potatoes was good going into late August but have substantially decreased since the summer crop started coming in.

The fresh market segment hurt most by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the carton market for foodservice baking potatoes. Red potato supermarket sales are doing well, along with fresh yellow potato sales, which Ted said had been steady for several years. 

This year, red potato acreage was down 5% in the Red River Valley because a reduced crop in 2019 brought with it a reduction in red seed potato availability for 2020 planting.