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Published December 15, 2011, 05:01 PM

USDA: North Dakota spud stocks down 10 percent

USDA said Thursday current spud stocks represent 68 percent of the state's production, up from 64 percent in 2010 and the same as in 2009. This year's production was down 16 percent from last year in the state and the lowest in at least 15 years.

By: Stephen J. Lee,

North Dakota potato stocks on Dec. 1 were down 10 percent from a year earlier, at 12.6 million hundredweight, but only 3 percent below 2009's mark, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Thursday.

Current spud stocks in the state represent 68 percent of this season’s production, compared with 64 percent a year ago.

Potato production in the state averaged 24.25 million cwt. from 2000-2009, but was only 18.5 million cwt. this year, the lowest in at least 15 years and down 16 percent from 2010's 22 million cwt., according to USDA's production report last week.

Russets represented 67 percent of state spud stocks, the same as a year ago, down from 69 percent Dec. 1, 2009. Round whites were 11 percent of the total, long whites were 5 percent and reds were 16 percent of the total. Yellow spuds made up only 1 percent of the total stocks.

Nationwide, the 13 major potato growing states held 250 million cwt. of spuds in storage Dec. 1, up 4 percent from a year ago.

Processors in the 9 major States have used 73 million cwt. of potatoes this season, up 17

percent from the same period last year. Dehydrating usage accounted for 13.4 million cwt of the total processing, up 68 percent from last year.

By type, russets accounted for 82 percent of the U.S. total, same as last year.

U.S. spud production is up 7 percent this year, although average yields of 412 cwt. per acre were down 4 percent. North Dakota's average spud yields were pegged at 240 cwt. per acre by USDA's ag statistics office in Fargo,well below long-term averages of 260 cwt. The late, wet spring in the region delayed planting and hurt the spud yields, industry experts have said.

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