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Colorado potatoes ‘doing better than some’ sectors this season

Colorado potatoes as a whole are faring well this season, with good quality out of the 52,000 acres planted in the state’s biggest spud region, the San Luis Valley.

Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, commented a few days before Thanksgiving that “compared to most of agriculture, we’re pretty lucky,” and he said the valley is “doing better than some” growing areas.cpaccrop-overview-potato-and-onion

Ehrlich said there had been some issues with high temps during harvest, but he noted, “Growers would go in at night or early in the morning, with some shutting down during the middle of the afternoon. It seemed to work out fine.”

Numbers for loads to date for October showed the season to be on par with past years, up a bit in yellow shipments and other colors. F.O.B. pricing at $8.50 for U.S. No. 1s was better in October than it had been for several year, and No. 2s came in at $7.13. Commercial grade bulk russets were at $10.11 for 100 pounds.

“The Thanksgiving pull saw over 200 loads a day for the week before Thanksgiving,” Ehrlich said.

The region also recently welcomed a new pathologist, Cheks Mattupalli, to the Colorado State University Research Center north of Monte Vista. Mattupalli will be working on powdery scab, silver scurf and pink rot, Ehrlich said.

Pertaining to trade with Mexico and ongoing discussions between the two governments, Ehrlich said Nora Gonzales “stays abreast with the goings on in the interior of Mexico and reports on Mexico retail.” He added that the new political environment in Mexico is not yet fully known, and the revised trade agreement “still has a 20 percent tariff on french fries.”

This month CPAC is taking part in an Ag Innovation Summit at the Research Center that will look at food security and automation/labor.