b'Potentially Profitableby Ted Kreis, NPPGA Marketing and Communications Directorlast year. of yellow demand which has beenincreasingsteadilyforthepastSohowaboutyellowpotatoes? decade.YieldpotentialsintheRedRiverValley should mirror reds.However Growersaroundthecountryhavea good percentage of yellowsgrown been steadily increasing yellow acresinourregionarejustoutsidethe and production to meet the increas-valleyonirrigatedland.Yields ing demand. That trend is also verythere should be good.Combined, evident here in the Red River Valleylook for close to average yields but whereyellowpotatoproductionwith more than 600 additional acres couldexceed25percentofthisof yellows, production will be up in yearsfreshcrop;anumberthatourregion.Inanutshell,wewill stoodataroundfivepercentalikely have fewer reds and more yel- decade ago. lows than last year. The current parallel pricing of redsAugust is the time of the year when How about pricing?The potential is and yellows may be more of a resultgrowers and marketers of Red River there for a very good year if man- of the red potato shortage this sum-Valley Potatoes start taking a closer agedproperly.Thatisverygood mer which pushed red prices higherlookatthepotentialofthenew news,especiallyinayearwhen than yellows.crop; not only the size and condi- many other major Red River Valleytionofourcrop,butalsomarket cropsaresufferingfromlowcom- Once the entire fall crop from all theconditionsleadingintoharvest. modity prices. big potato producing states hits theThisyearthereisreasonforopti- market, we will have a clearer pic-mism.A severe red potato shortage earlier ture on where all this is going, butthissummercausedpricestosky- rightnowthingslookfavorable.Over-supplyisthebiggestfactor rockettomorethan$40perhun- The Red River Valley wont have acausing low prices.That should not dredweight.Thatcreatedalotof big crop, but hopefully a profitablebe a problem this year. Growers in pent-up demand and a good starting one.thenorthernvalleyareexpecting price for Big Lake shippers. Midwayyieldstobebelowaverage.Walsh, through the Big Lake shipping sea-Pembina,KittsonandMarshall son, those shippers had still main-Countiesweredrythissummer. tainedgoodredpotatopricingatMeanwhilefurthersouth,Grand over$25perhundredweight.Forks, Traill and Polk Counties fared Should that continue, the Red Rivermuch better and yield should be at, Valleywillinheritstrongpotatoor maybe slightly above average. But pricingfromtheBigLakeregionwiththemajorityofacrestothe later this fall, and that is a very pos-northofGrandForks,over-allred itive factor.potato production is expected to bedown.Combine that with a signifi- So far yellow pricing has also beencantcutinplantedredacres,the good, but is more paralell with redRed River Valley will likely come in pricing then in previous years.Thiswith a much smaller red crop than may or may not signal a leveling off4 POTATO GROWER SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019'