Crop News

Challenges Face European Potato Growers and Processors


United States

With sweet corn shortages in the Midwest region and Europe, coming into season with lower than usual inventories, plus some loss of yields here in the Pacific Northwest, expect for a tight sweet corn market with prices firm going forward.  Most Northwest suppliers are officially off market, for the time being.

Carrot harvest came in on budget.

Potato market conditions still uncertain due to covid.  While retail sales for frozen potatoes has surged by about 19%, foodservice sales are still looking dim compared to a year ago.    Processors are hesitant to buy potatoes on open market due to covid related declines in foodservice, however if the industry picks up, there may well be a shortage down the road.   Between June 1 and November 30, 2020 there was a 10% to 12% decline in the amount of potatoes used in the U.S. processing industry.

 The cooler temperatures and wet weather slowed down green bean progress in the Midwest this season and there may be some shortages of beans coming out of this area.

Maine’s Wild Blueberry season was a disaster this year.  Struggling with an unusual frost in June, then drought conditions during summer and labor disruptions due to the Covid pandemic, the season estimate is between 50 to 60 million pounds.  A normal year will produce an 84-million-pound crop.   Demand is high and so will be the prices at least until new season arrives in summer 2021.

While we reported previously that the U.S. cranberry season was expected to be a good one, the situation changed due to drought conditions in parts of Massachusetts and harvest could be down by approximately 10% in that state.  Also, in Wisconsin the largest grower of cranberries in the U.S., the outcome is also anticipated to be lower than expected due to small size fruit.  

USDA figures have reported that the overall fruit stocks in the U.S. are 15% down from the same period one year ago.   Strawberry stocks are at an 18-year record low, while the sour cherry market suffers with a 25% drop in harvest due to frost.


Potato growing conditions varied in Canada.   Eastern Canada struggled through a very hot and dry season while Western Canada fared much better and has reported good yields and quality.   Overall Canadian potato production is expected to be down.    The Canadian potato industry is experiencing all of the same challenges as their American neighbors due to the Covid pandemic.


Now in peak production for both broccoli and cauliflower, quality and yields are reported as good and factories are running at capacity.   Weather conditions are warm and sunny.

Spinach season in Mexico is now underway and is expected to run through April/May.  

Blueberries and raspberry season are ongoing.


Broccoli harvest for most in this area is winding down.  Conditions were good with plenty of rain to push crops along.   Guatemala’s okra season has begun and will continue through middle of this month.


Much rain and cooler temperatures have affected the output of Ecuador’s broccoli crop, both conventional and organic.  

A drop in mango harvest has also been a result of the recent wet and cooler weather.


Reports from Peru indicate that mango season may be lower than normal.  Kent variety processing began in November.   Late flowering due to cool weather in summer (June/July) and drought conditions most recently will surely lower mango yields.   One processor mentioned that fruit size and quality will be affected as well.  Expect mango prices to go up.  Most recent reports indicate a 25% drop compared to last season.

Peru’s frozen strawberry exports are doing well.   It has been reported that Peru doubled their exports of frozen strawberries in the last few years.   Most of the volume is shipped into the U.S.A. with Canada and Korea buying some as well. 

Chile   Some lower temperatures in blueberry regions have delayed fruit ripening, while the increased number of orchards should keep volumes high.  Blueberry season is underway and to date it is reported that conditions have been favorable with good yields and high-quality fruit.  

As well Chile expects a high yielding strawberry season due to increased acreage.   Strawberry season should run through March.


Brussel Sprout season has commenced in Belgium with a good season anticipated.   Carrot and green bean season are now completed and has been disappointing with lower yields due to weather related issues.   The market will be tight on most carrots and green beans.

In the global frozen French fry market there is stiff competition from Europe due to the volume of processing potatoes harvested this season.   Prices are low coming from Europe.   Due to covid 19 virus the demand in Europe for potatoes on open market are extremely low causing prices to drop.   Most processors are running factories at 80 to 90% capacity.  NEPG has reported that contracts with farmers for the coming year will be negotiated after the first of the year and it is expected that grower contract volumes will be down and estimated planted acreage will be reduced by 15% to 20%.

Potato processers in Europe are facing many challenges aside from the covid challenge.   The 2020 season was the first season in which CIPC was not allowed to be sprayed to prevent sprouting in storage potatoes.   Storage has become more expensive and the new anti-sprouting treatment is expensive and not working as well as CIPC…. some sprouting is still occurring.


Sweet Corn was affected by strong weather patterns.  Wind and Rain were reported in the growing regions.  Raw Product has been forecasted to be lower than predicted. 

Edamame season in China has been affected by heavy rains and flooding and reduced yields are anticipated.  Prices have increased dramatically, and limited product is available.

Water Chestnut season is underway, but the outlook is not good.   Due to low prices last year, acreage was cut by approximately 1/3 and weather-related problems such as rain will affect the yields.


































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