Knowledge Exchange

Ag Economy

Vegetables

  • In the New York processing market, growers report a very tough start to the year due to excessive moisture, but some early crops had decent yields if they were able to get planted.
  • In New England, the growing season is off to a good start, better than last year. Markets have been good as long as growers are able to produce.
  • In New Jersey, wet weather has contributed to a slow start to the season, things are still a bit early, but pricing seems to be holding well.
  • The availability and cost of seasonal farm labor continues to be a major issue for many vegetable growers. Unemployment is low, and several Northeast states have increased minimum wages, leading to higher costs. New York has passed mandatory overtime after 60 hours per week for farm workers, taking effect in 2020.

Potatoes

The 2019 Maine potato crop went into the ground 7-10 days later than normal due to a cool, wet spring. Crops are currently slightly behind normal development, but have had adequate rainfall and warmer temperatures since planting finished. The crop looks to be in excellent condition, if a little behind, at this point in the growing season.

Market conditions for potatoes continue to be favorable.

  • Processing contracts across North America generally included volume increases as processors respond to increased demand in global French fry sales.
  • Tablestock markets continue to be good, with some specific types seeing very strong prices.
  • Seed markets ended the shipping season with very good market conditions and strong prices. Seed demand appears to be strong going into the 2019 crop year.
  • Chipstock supplies remain in a tight balance with sales. Chippers generally increased production in the southeast U.S. and other early growing areas in order to maintain supplies until the Northern states begin harvest. All available summer chipstock supplies should get utilized and demand for fall chipstock supplies should be strong.