The potato harvest is now underway in the Red River Valley (North-Dakota, Minnesota). Yields are all over the board ranging from poor to excellent. Most of the fields with poor yields were damaged by heavy rain that fell on, and around June 30th.
Meanwhile, the potato harvest in the Big Lake, Minnesota area is into its sixth week. Yields from that region have been about average; however demand for their red potatoes has been anything but average.
One of five harvesters Folson Farms had going north of Grand Forks.
After many months of high red potato prices, buyers are having to be convinced to start promoting reds again and that has led to a huge red potato price drop over the past several weeks. In the past month, the base price for #1 size A reds in totes has fallen from USD 28 per hundredweight to the current price of USD 12 to USD 13.
This is very concerning for Red River Valley fresh shippers who will inherit the red market from Central Minnesota in the coming weeks. Unless Big Lake prices rebound very soon, the Valley will transition into a market price that is about half of what it was last year at the same time.
Fortunately yellow potato prices are stronger, holding in the mid USD 20's. This is about the same as last year. This is important because yellow potatoes now make up about 20% of the Red River Valley fresh crop.