By SUSAN MANN
Ontario bucked the national trend of a decline in potato production last year and saw an increase in the amount produced over the previous year.
But according to Statistics Canada’s potato production report released today production declined four per cent across the country in 2010 to 97.3 million hundredweight compared to 101 million hundredweight in 2009.
Don Brubacher, general manager of the Ontario Potato Board, says in Ontario there was an increase in demand from processors for potatoes used in chips and that meant an increase in the number of acres grown for 2010 to 38,500 from 37,000 in 2009. In Ontario, production in 2010 was 8.17 million hundredweight, up from 7.83 million hundredweight in 2009.
Production was reasonably good last year in Ontario with above average yields. Brubacher says “generally it was a good growing season.”
Brubacher says production across Canada was down because fewer acres were planted in some areas while there were crop problems in several regions. Alberta had extremely heavy rainfall in the spring “so it drowned out a lot of the crop and reduced yields.” In New Brunswick there was heavy rain in the fall and farmers there couldn’t harvest their crop.
The potato board won’t have a handle on Ontario’s 2011 production numbers until the fall. Acreage across the province is expected to the similar to 2010, Brubacher says. But the board won’t know this year’s exact acreage numbers until early July. BF