A Bumper Crop Means Tight Storage

About 90 percent of the potato crop is out of the ground in Wisconsin, according to the latest crop progress report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Service. The word from growers is that the crop is looking above average in terms of yield and the size of the spuds.

Mike Carter, CEO of Bushmans’ Inc. out of Rosholt and chairman of Potatoes USA, the marketing arm for U.S. potatoes, says the challenge is to make sure there’s demand to match this year’s supply.

“I think across the country, we’re looking at above average yields and good quality,” he says. “In Wisconsin… the size profile of our crop is looking large.”

Traditionally, large spuds go for a premium. The abundance of product is the sentiment Carter is hearing from his counterparts to the West and East as well. But strong yields means there’s a need for space.

“Everybody is getting creative,” he says. “I don’t think there’s going to be any empty storages when it’s all said and done.”

Carter’s farm is maxed out on storage, but the weather has cooperated in that they can leave potatoes in the ground until space opens up, for now. The real challenge is making sure there’s strong demand for potatoes so that prices do not plummet as a result of a large supply.

“We feel like the demand is high enough where we should be able to hold those prices and make sure we maintain a decent return as the year goes on,” he says.

In an interview with Mid-West Farm Report, Carter outlines how Potatoes USA is growing demand across the globe for U.S.-grown potatoes.