Narrator: Now farmers across Idaho and Montana are stuck with mountains of potatoes. 2020’s latest (but least surprising) shortage: antacids. Narrator: Farmers are also mashing up potatoes into a compost-like mixture to feed cattle next year. Peggy and Bill have given out roughly 75,000 pounds of potatoes to the surrounding community. We visited Buyan Ranch, where Peggy and Bill have been growing potato seed for 59 years. They'll be looking into increasing their lines of credit, they'll be needing to remortgage some of their property, you know, just trying to free up more capital to try and survive for next year. Bill Buyan: The potatoes have been awful good to us for a lot of years, but this year it just really turned sour. The EU’s exports of frozen potato products to the U.S. have tripled during the last two years. For the first time, the Interior Ministry, which runs the police, has begun selling potatoes at reduced prices, drawing long lines of customers. A potato paucity is upon us, and French fry aficionados are worried. It's an expense just to get rid of them. However, those potatoes did not last as long as had been expected. Aug 20, 2020. CHENNAI: You are paying twice the wholesale rate for potatoes as retailers claim a shortage and have pushed up rates by Rs 10 in the last two days. UK consumers may face a home-grown potatoes shortage next year as stocks run out due to new storage rules. Others grow better. irishmirror. Zak: If you're a fresh-product grower, you'll plant a different variety, or a different genetic line of potatoes. That in a month or so, we might be able to send them somewhere for some kind of processing. If you didn't, you'd have quit a long time ago. Now they're facing a 20-year low. Bill: It's costing us money just to bury these. Narrator: Now back to the farm. Beyond those measures, the most logical way to expand the raw product supply is to purchase Russet Burbank potatoes that are intended to be marketed as table potatoes. The Food Purchase and Distribution … Narrator: Peggy and Bill have been forced to bury 1.4 million pounds of potatoes in total. Irish chippers could face a potato shortage due to Brexit. Fryers may experiment with other russet table potato varieties in hopes of finding some that will make acceptable product. Normally this time of year, Bill and Peggy would be sending their potatoes to be planted. Narrator: Luckily, Zak says all this food waste won't lead to a shortage next year. Peggy Buyan: When you dump that many potatoes, the financial hit, I mean, that was what's so heart-sickening, is the financial burden. It also might eat into supplies of storage potatoes for the potato chip industry. Share on Facebook . This site uses functional cookies and external scripts to improve your experience. And just to try to get somebody to benefit from them. … Your choices will not impact your visit. 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. 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. Supplies of russet table potatoes are likely to tighten as fryers pull Russet Burbank potatoes away from that sector. If you're a process grower, you'll grow a different product line. Out of options, the growers cut their orders with seed farmers. In bad years, you just start over the next year and hope for a better, you know, better season. Potato growers get the seed from Buyan and start planting in March, then they harvest in early fall. Share ; By. Zak: But that's the plight of a farmer. For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za. 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. A bag of frozen french fries are seen on sale in a freezer case at a Safeway supermarket in Falls Church, Virginia, on Thursday, April 23, 2020. Production cuts may be more severe in Maine and New Brunswick than on PEI. But this year's, there's just no market for them, and we're just taking them out, taking them into a burial pit. The combination of pandemic woes, election burnout, stress drinking, and perhaps a few ill-conceived comfort meals have all conspired to give America a giant case of agita. They averaged 3.2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal from June through September, peaking at 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit above normal during July. They said it’s due to cold weather that shortened the harvest season. Peggy and Bill are facing $140,000 in losses. The combination of heat and the rainfall deficit is likely to reduce potato yields in the region by as much as 25 percent, relative to the five-year average. Summer heat and limited rainfall have eaten into expected potato production in Maine, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (PEI). Zak: Even though they're losing money on them, they'd rather see someone eat them than nothing happen at all. We'd have mass shortage of potatoes, and that would have been even worse. U.S. facing frozen fries shortage as farmers can't sell potatoes. Farmers farm for the love of farming, and even in tough times, we still will continue to farm for the love of farming. The shortfall is likely to encourage further expansion in the import of European French fries. 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. A shortage of french fries could be coming, Bloomberg reported Monday. Oct 20, 2020, 02:18 PM facebook. Their final destination is this hole. Processing Potato Supply Shortfall. Zak: Think of everything from white-table restaurants clear down to your fast, quick service. I guess that's kind of the farm and ranch. Fryers offset some of the contract reductions with extended usage of storage potatoes from the 2019 crop. Jules Suzdaltsev 12 months ago Potato growers … Narrator: That's the bag of potato chips, the french fries at McDonald's, or the precut fries in the frozen section. Growers in some areas may have reduced their table potato acreage, but any cuts in that category were limited in scope. Instead, they're throwing away 700 tons. The situation changes every day, but potato acres in Canada and the United States could take a dramatic hit in 2020. UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 3, 2019. Bill: We had high hopes that maybe something would turn up, you know? That increases the harvested area in places with relatively low potato yields. For a small operation, for us. Sather and Byre are in agreement that the red potato varieties will see the largest shortage of seed in the spring of 2020 and that could have an impact on growers in the Red River Valley. This is due to an unusually cold winter in Limpopo, which has hurt the early part of the harvest. North America’s harvested potato area may only be down 1.5 percent to 2 percent in 2020. It's about $1 less in Florida and $2 more in California. Growers need about two weeks of favourable weather for harvest, otherwise thousands of acres will remain in the ground this winter. For farmers across Idaho and Montana, that number comes to $8 million. Growers planted 3.9 percent fewer potatoes this year than they did in 2019, but yield losses are the major driver of this year’s expected production downturn. Photo by Kevin Lamarque / Reuters. Narrator: That's foods like a raw potato at a grocery store or au gratin potatoes at your favorite restaurant. The region is the largest producer of red potatoes in the country and … 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. 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. 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. Potato production may drop by 25 to 30 percent because of closed restaurants… 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. Farmers are still planting potatoes, just not as much. by The Counter. Updated 4:45 PM ET, Tue December 3, 2019 . This year, crops have been harvested in record time with few problems during the harvest. As we Approach the 2019-2020 storage potato season, we are now seeing the effects of the challenges we faced along the way. Processing contract volume reductions anticipated a larger drop in French fry sales than the industry is experiencing. Narrator: These potatoes aren't gonna end up on your dinner table. Market Alert – Potato Shortage Continues. Narrator: But all of that effort barely made a dent in the number of stranded potatoes. The focus of the 2020 crop potato shortage is the frozen processing sector. 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. The industry experienced major harvesttime crop losses in North Dakota and the Canadian Prairies in 2019. NOTE: These settings will only apply to the browser and device you are currently using. 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. Bill: She's organized two or three giveaway days, and we've had pickups from 100 miles away, people come and got potatoes. In the fresh segment... Zak: You're actually seeing the potato in its true form. News. The worries about alooming food shortage come as two main unemployment programs that significantly expand jobless assistance — and a ... potatoes and not just canned and processed food.” The main federal program that is ending provided around $100 million dollars in food to Texas food banks in 2020, according to Feeding Texas calculations. About 15 percent of Maine’s crop is irrigated, but this year’s severe drought will take a toll on the remaining fields. New Brunswick has no irrigation for its potato crop. Peggy: Right now it's, like, 200,000, roughly, in there, with everything, I would say. Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you'd like to share? And more than half of the industry's potatoes were stranded on seed farms. The impact of this year’s processing potato supply shortfall will extend beyond the market for finished products. It's the supply chain from the growers to the supermarket that got interrupted. Share on Twitter. The great french fry shortage of 2020 may be upon us. News > Agriculture Bad weather causes potato shortage everywhere, except in Washington. Account active PEI growers have not been able to dig new irrigation wells since 2001. You're asking - a square peg in a round hole, I guess, is the best analogy I can come up with. The supply of those potatoes is limited primarily to Idaho and PEI. The 2020 GB planted potato area is one of the lowest on record seeing a 2.3% year-on-year drop. Scattered showers created variable crop conditions, but in general crops received about 50 percent of normal rainfall from June through August. Narrator: To save some of the potatoes from going to waste, Buyan Ranch got creative. Potato crops in Maine, New Brunswick and PEI experienced extreme heat throughout the growing season. This compares with 11% of the crop estimated to be unlifted as at 12 November 2019. Narrator: Potatoes for food service, like restaurants, hotels, and catering, make up an estimated 55% of all potato crops. You don't actually see the potato; you see the byproduct or the end result of that. Narrator: Buyan grows three different disease-free seed strains: Umatilla, Clearwater, and Russet Burbank potatoes. The focus of the 2020 crop potato shortage is the frozen processing sector. Peggy: We thought, you know, let's plant what we do, take the risk. US experiencing shortage of potatoes used for French fries. Zak Miller: More than half of our market shut down by government mandate. Recent capacity expansion efforts were supposed to arrest that trend. That's money out of our pocket, trying to find another use of the spuds. This year, the capacity issue has been replaced by the raw product supply shortfall. Normally, potato production across the Northwest looks like this. It's pretty devastating, you know? 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. Zak: It takes a tremendous amount of capital to grow a crop of potatoes. 2 October 2020 Domestic market update - 02 October 2020 Overall free-buy potato trade during September remained minimal. 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. 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. Zak: The other side of that is - we call it our process segment. We expect them to expand early-season production in 2021 and to encourage that harvest get under way as early as possible. Manitoba could be facing another potato shortage. Bill: I mean, it was just unprecedented. The last of the 2019 crop had been cleaned up by the end of August. Processors cut down orders with growers. In addition, they may be interested in purchasing open chip potatoes for use in products where length is not an issue. Growers in some areas may have reduced their table potato acreage, but any cuts in that category were limited in scope. Potato Weekly - 20 March 2020. Though the pandemic continues to have a major impact on economies around the world, the downturn in demand for French fries has been much less than processors had anticipated at planting time. Bankruptcies are starting to creep up. Narrator: And the same thing is happening across the Northwest. Updated October 15, 2020 9:30 am Britain is facing a sweet potato shortage after extreme weather hurt US crops and import costs rose thanks to a falling pound. 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. The French fry industry faces the largest supply shortfall, but that deficit is likely to spill over to russet table potato markets and could eat into raw product supplies intended for potato chip production. Zak: Going forward this year, I think the farmers are doing the right thing. Unlike their North American counterparts, EU fryers have a surplus of raw potatoes to draw from and plenty of capacity to expand their output. It starts with a seed grower like Buyan, where farmers grow a variety of seed strains. Narrator: So when food-service establishments shut down because of COVID-19, it was a chain effect. The U.S. potato industry has been in a fight in recent decades, a fight against negative public perception. Rainfall is critical for this crop. Processing contract volumes dropped 15 percent to 20 percent on average, though the largest cuts were in the Columbia Basin. 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. The raw product shortfall opens a window for further expansion of French fry imports from Europe. Processors are working to minimize the impact of this year’s raw product shortfall. Cold weather and the impact of Hurricane Dorian have damaged potato crops in the United States and Canada. In four months, the average market price of a 10kg bag has rocketed from below R35 to R83. We're in the small town of Sheridan, Montana, on a potato farm. since. Each potato variety goes to a specific grower in either the fresh or processed segment. Their actions are likely to impact other industry sectors. That has encouraged some of those businesses to import European product. In Western Canada, the crop is running behind schedule as processors push to get new crop harvest underway. Subscriber Growers responded to contract volume reductions by cutting acreage accordingly or by shifting to varieties not generally used in French fry production. 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. The industry planned to be using storage potatoes through September and possibly into October. Temperatures in Caribou, Maine, are representative of the situation throughout the region. A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation. Please email email@example.com and tell us your story. Link Copied! Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries. 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. An unusually cold and wet potato harvest season may lead to a French fry shortage in the US. Crop losses resulting from a drought in Maine, New Brunswick and PEI will exacerbate an already short processing potato supply situation. Friday, 20 March 2020. … International demand for potatoes and potato products continues to increase, particularly in Asia, and U.S. demand for processed potatoes is increasing. 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. The region’s 2020 potato crop could be down 25 percent from 2019 production. Panic buying linked to the coronavirus has boosted retail demand for fresh potatoes and frozen products this week. As at 10 November 2020, it was estimated that just 2% of the planted area was yet to be lifted. Zak: You can't take some of these facilities that are built directly for food service and then tomorrow flip a switch and make them able to sell into retail. Save for later. The impact of the processing potato shortfall is likely to spill over into other segments of the potato industry. Seed potatoes make their way through a … Zak: Grocery stores or retails would have been bursting to the seams with potatoes if we had redirected all that. They are exercising their rights of first refusal on any contract overages. Narrator: All in all, an estimated 1.5 billion pounds of potatoes are trapped in the supply chain across the US. They totaled 331 million pounds during the year ending June 30, 2020. At a glance. twitter. Just, some fry better, they have a better color to them. However, the remnants of Hurricane Teddy brought PEI general rainfall in excess of 2 inches on Sept. 22-23. If we'd have anticipated COVID wrong and had a short crop, a very small crop, it would have been devastating to food hunger. Narrator: The surplus potatoes also couldn't just be sent to grocery stores. Narrator: Before the pandemic, Zak estimates Idaho farmers were looking at a 15-year high in potato prices. Seed Directory Searchable by Grower, State, Variety. However, the limited decline is misleading. "Therefore when the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU ends on 31 December 2020, the import of certified seed and ware potatoes … At the behest of processors, growers across North America cut back on 2020 potato acreage. The … Final yield data were not available at press time, but we have not been picking up reports of spectacular yields for any growing areas. 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. Zak: When COVID hit, we had a huge run on retail, which lasted for about a week to two weeks, but then when we shut off all the restaurants, that's when everything came out of kilter. 2020 Gets Even Worse as Citrus and Potatoes Are Recalled Over Potential Listeria Outbreak Lemons, limes, and oranges are among the fruits recall after … PEI’s government shut down the use of surface water for irrigation before the end of the growing season due to low stream flows. The biggest cuts took place in the Columbia Basin, which produces the largest potato yields in the world. In North Carolina, that rate is $12.67 an hour. 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? 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