Fewer spuds sown in Canada

Canadian potato growers planted slighter fewer acres than they did a year ago, according to Statistics Canada.

Nationally, farmers planted 344,884 acres in potatoes, which is down .6 percent from a year ago. It marks the 13th straight year that seeded potato acreage has posted declines nationally.

On the Prairies, 64,500 seeded acres were reported by growers in Manitoba, 53,235 in Alberta and 5,900 in Saskatchewan.

The Manitoba figure represents the latest drop in an overall decline from a peak in 2003, when the province’s farmers seeded 103,000 acres.

In Alberta, seeded area grew slightly this year to 53,235 acres compared to 52,300 a year ago. Alberta acreage has remained in the 50,000 to 58,000 acre range, following its peak of 66,000 acres in 2003.

Saskatchewan acres have fallen steadily since that province peaked at 13,500 acres in 2003.

Like Alberta, Ontario also ran contrary to seeding declines elsewhere with 35,400 acres seeded, compared to 34,800 in 2016. Following peak potato acreage in 2003 at 44,900 acres, area in the province has dipped but remains relatively steady in the range of 38,000 to 34,000 acres going back to 1990.

In Quebec, the only other province to post gains, seeded acreage is at 42,749 for this year, compared to 41,761 acres in 2016.

However, potato acreage in that province has slowly slid over the long term from 49,900 acres in 2003 to where it is today.

Statistic Canada also reported that:

  • Prince Edward Island remains king of potato acres with 88,000 for this year, accounting for 26 percent of national seeded area. Manitoba placed second at 19 percent.
  • Canadian growers seeded 346,827 acres in 2016, harvesting 342,409 acres with an average yield of 307.2 hundredweight per acre.
  • Growers planted 348,313 acres in 2015, 346,798 acres in 2014 and 356,079 acres in 2013.
  • Harvested area has remained more steady than seeded acreage. Potato growers harvested 342,409 acres in 2016, 342,951 acres in 2015, 342,426 acres in 2014 and 351,838 acres in 2013.
  • Although seeded acreage has been on the decline and harvested acreage has remained roughly constant, yields have been increasing. In hundredweight per harvested area, yields came in at 307.2 in 2016, 305.1 in 2015, 293.9 in 2014 and 291.0 in 2013.

Did you know:

  • One potato (with skin) is about 100 calories and has as much iron as a cup of spinach and as much potassium as a banana.
  • Canadian potatoes account for a third of the value of the country’s vegetable crops.
  • New potato varities are being grown with a higher starch content that can be made into biodegradable plastic garbage bags and cutlery. Other new varieties have a low glycemic index and are better for diabetic diets.
  • In 2016, Canadian potato growers produced 4.7 million tonnes of potatoes. Of that, 13 percent are used for seed, 21 percent are sold as fresh product and 66 percent are used for processed goods.
  • Canada’s Potato Research Centre in Fredericton, N.B., is home to the national potato breeding program and hosts research into disease and plant genetics.

Source: Agriculture Canada

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