StatsCan: Potato yields in Canada show steady growth
The top yielding provinces include Alberta, Manitoba, and British Columbia.
By Stephanie Gordon
Despite dry cycles and tough harvest elements, Canadian growers are still managing to increase potato yields over time.
The average yield for potatoes grown in Canada this year is 312.3 hundredweight per acre (cwt/acre), up from last year’s 310 cwt./acre, according to Statistics Canada’s estimate of Canadian potato yields published on Dec. 6, 2019. This year’s yield presents a four-point increase from the country’s five-year average of 308 cwt/acre.
See the map below to see 2019 yield estimates per province, and hover your mouse over each province to see how this year’s yields stack up to the province’s five-year average:
The top yielding provinces are estimated to include Alberta (382 cwt./acre), Manitoba (346 cwt./acre), British Columbia (325 cwt./acre) and Prince Edward Island (300 cwt./acre).
With the exception of Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta, yields in the remaining provinces were estimated to be higher than last year and historical levels. Provinces showing the highest increase in yields from their five-year average include, British Columbia up by 33 cwt./acre, Quebec up by nine cwt./acre, Prince Edward Island up by seven cwt./acre, and New Brunswick up by six cwt./acre from their respective five-year averages.
Kevin MacIssac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC), says the higher yields in this provinces indicates a relatively good growing season up until the start of harvest. “Increases in trend line yields across Canada are reflective of better grower management, improved varieties, newer technology, and of course weather during the growing season,” MacIsaac stated in the latest UPGC update.
However, MacIssac says some data discrepancies should be noted. The yield estimates from Statistics Canada are based on grower surveys and refer to the gross yield per acre and not the net yield or pay weight per acre. Yields are field run and also do not account for any storage issues which may occur after the potatoes went into buildings at harvest.
The estimates are based on harvested acres and do not include results from the many acres left out this year. At the end of November, it was estimated that Manitoba had 12,000 acres still left harvested, more than double the amount of the 5,200 acres left in the ground in 2018. Dan Sawatzky, manager of Keystone Potato Producers Association, told CBC News that this represents 27 per cent of the year’s crop. Despite this, Manitoba’s estimated yields are still strong, sitting at 10 cwt./acre above their five-year average.