Both the number of harvested acres of potatoes and the average yield per acre declined slightly in Wisconsin this year, resulting in a five-percent decrease in the state's crop compared to 2012.
A recent report by the Wisconsin field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service indicated that the 62,000 acres harvested in the state was down by 2,000 acres from 2012 and the average yield of 450 hundredweight was 10 hundredweight less than a year ago. The state's total crop was 27.9 million hundredweight compared to 29.44 million hundredweight a year ago.
Wisconsin's record highs on potato production include the harvest of 325,00 acres in 1922, total production of 34 million hundredweights in 1999, and average yields of 460 hundredweight per acre in both 2009 and 2012.
For the 2013 potato crop, there were percentage decreases of six in Idaho, which accounts for nearly one-third of the national production, of 10 in North Dakota, and seven in Minnesota while Washington, with about 23 percent of the nation's potato crop, posted a very slight increase in its 2013 crop compared to 2012.
Prompted in part by low prices for their 2012 crop, potato growers across the nation cut their acres by 52,700 this year for a total of 936,100 harvested acres. Average per acre yields were up by six hundredweight to 429 but the total crop of 401.5 million hundredweights represented a decrease of four percent from 2012.
An industry report indicated that 8,300 of Wisconsin potato acres were dedicated to growing seed potatoes that were found to have very good quality. For the United States in 2013, seed potato acres declined by 8.1 percent to a total of 106,613.
Russet Burbanks accounted for 18,437 of the seed potato acres but this was a 26.7 percent decline from 2012. Russet Norkortah seed acres fell by 30.7 percent to 7,058 while Ranger Russet acres were up by 7.8 percent to 7,765. Varieties going to potato chip production were grown on 10,299 of the seed potato acres.
Among the potato varieties most popular with gardeners, the seed potato acres in 2013 were 6,494 for Norlands (down 10.2 percent), 1,666 for Yukon Gold (down 12 percent), and 1,227 for Superior (down 13.3 percent).
Idaho also had the largest share of seed potato acres in 2013 with 32,890 — 30.8 of the national total. North Dakota followed with 14,170 acres. Colorado posted a decline of 29.7 percent on seed potato acres with its total of 9,737.