Despite an increase in seeded area for potatoes, the large amount of unharvested and abandoned acres due to a difficult harvest has resulted in less potato production. Only 332,652 acres of potatoes were harvested - the lowest harvested area reported in the last decade.
In 2018 across Canada, 16,365 acres of potatoes were abandoned, according to Statistics Canada. UPG states there was a decrease of 2.8 million hundred weight below the 2017 crop. The industry had originally placed the losses closer to 5.5 million hundred weight but this appears to have been offset by increases of 2.7 million hundred weight in Alberta, New Brunswick and British Columbia.
Canadian yields appear strong, reporting at 312cwt./acre, which is the same as last year. However, UPG says the yield data has less significance this year because it is calculated on harvested acres and not planted acreage. With less harvested acres, the yield calculation does not provide the full picture.
Given the late harvest in the country and the amount of acres left in the field, it was difficult for Statistics Canada to gather the appropriate information from growers at a normal time. The potato industry requested a delay into mid-December to allow growers more time to respond. The United Potato Growers of Canada states that their estimate is only preliminary and will be updated in January to accommodate final adjustments.
Overall only three provinces had an increase in production, and most saw a decrease in production. Below are the percentage changes in potato production based on each province:
- Newfoundland and Labrador, down 11.1 per cent
- Prince Edward Island, down 7.6 per cent
- Nova Scotia, down 15.5 per cent
- New Brunswick, up 4.7 per cent
- Quebec, down 5.7 per cent
- Ontario, down 11.6 per cent
- Manitoba, down 8.6 per cent
- Saskatchewan, down 10.5 per cent
- Alberta, up 8.9 per cent
- British Columbia, up 15.1 per cent