California potato acreage down

California’s 2007 winter potato production forecast is 2.47 million cwt., 21 percent below a year ago. The area for harvest, at 11,500 acres, is 4 percent below last year. The average yield of 215 cwt. per acre is down 45 cwt. below a year ago.

Freezing temperatures in January damaged the crop, resulting in lower yield potential. Spring production, at 6.12 million cwt., is 1 percent above last year. Area for harvest is up 1 percent, but the yield remains unchanged from 2006.

Freezing temperatures in January also caused some delays in planting, slowed growth, and caused some crop damage. However, growers rate the overall crop condition better than the 2006 crop. California’s summer potato planted and harvested acreage for the 2006 crop year is estimated at 6,300 acres. Nationally, winter potato production for 2007 is forecast at 2.47 million cwt., 14 percent below the January forecast and 45 percent below last year. Florida winter potatoes were combined with their spring potatoes for the 2007 crop.

Spring production in 2007 is forecast at 20.8 million cwt., up 5 percent from last year. Area for harvest is forecast at 69,800 acres, 3 percent above 2006. The average yield is forecast at 298 cwt. per acre, up 5 cwt. from a year ago. The final production estimate for the 2006 U.S. summer potato crop is 18.4 million cwt., down 1 percent from the preliminary estimate in the January Crop Production 2006 Summary, but up 4 percent from the 2005 crop. Harvested area covered 54,300 acres, unchanged from the January estimate, but up 6 percent from 2005. The average yield of 338 cwt. per acre is down 2 cwt. from the January preliminary estimate and 4 cwt. below the 2005 crop.

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