The wintry weather with which October announced itself in much of the United States this year has had little overall effect on potato movement.
The biggest impact may have been felt in North Dakota. About 5 million pounds of spuds shipped from the state between Oct. 4 and Oct. 11, down from 7.6 million a year ago at the same time.
“Roughly 14% of the Red River Valley fresh potato crop planted this spring remains to be harvested and could have suffered some frost damage,” Ted Kreis, marketing director for the East Grand Forks, Minn.-based Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, said Oct 13. “Cool temperatures for the past two weeks has slowed drying, and early morning temperatures as low as 18º just today has sent frost down about 3 inches.”
In Idaho - a week after up to 5 inches of snow fell in some potato-growing regions, the prognosis still looked good, said Frank Muir, president and executive officer of the Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission.
Nationwide, spud movement is largely unchanged from last year. Weekly movement nationwide was comparable to 2008 in the week of Oct. 4-11, and year-to-date shipments were actually up from last year at the same time.