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Falling supply means more demand in Klamath Basin

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) – Farmers in the Klamath Basin say it is good news that production and harvested acres for potatoes are down by 7 percent in the United States this season, according to newly released data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Growers said less acreage means there’s less risk of a market glut, which could help push up prices for russet variety fresh market potatoes.

So far, Klamath-area growers are seeing prices from $7 to $9 per hundredweight.

“According to statistics, we’ve had the best September and October we’ve had since 1995 on prices,” said Ed Staunton, chairman of United Potato Growers of the Klamath Basin, part of a newly formed nationwide cooperative of potato growers, United Potato Growers of America.

But with improving prices comes the temptation for some packers to put more potatoes into the market, he said.

“The tough thing will be trying to cut back acres this coming year,” Staunton said. “After a real good year, everyone goes out and plants potatoes.”

This year about 7,000 acres were grown in potatoes in the Klamath Basin, a reduction of 10 percent from 2004.

“If we can get everyone to plant less (in 2006), it’s going to be a profitable year again,” he said.




Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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