P.E.I. farmers pull back potato acres: StatsCan

Early estimates of Canada’s potato acres for 2009 show the biggest potato-growing province cutting deepest into its seeded area.

Prince Edward Island has pulled back its potato acres to 85,000 this year, down eight per cent from 92,500 in 2008, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

Newfoundland and Labrador technically posted the largest percentage decrease in potato acres, with an estimated 14 per cent drop. Among the 10 provinces, however, it also seeds the least area to potatoes: 600 acres in 2009, down from 700 in 2008.

New Brunswick, meanwhile, posted the largest percentage increase in potato area, boosting its acres to an estimated 58,000 in 2009, up from 55,500 in 2008, the federal statistics agency said.

Nationwide, the area seeded to potatoes in 2009 is estimated at 378,400 acres, down less than one per cent from 380,700 in 2008, StatsCan said.

StatsCan’s 2009 potato acreage estimates for Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia remained at 2008 levels: 82,000, 52,500 and 7,500 acres respectively.

Quebec was seen boosting its potato area about three per cent to 43,700 acres this year from 42,300 in 2008. Ontario growers were also estimated to have seeded more potatoes this year at 37,000 acres, up 1,000 from 2008.

StatsCan estimated Nova Scotia’s potato acres at 2,100 in 2009, up 100 acres from 2008, while Saskatchewan was seen putting in 10,000 acres, up 500 from 2008.

Average yields in 2008 were up only slightly from 2007 levels, with a nationwide yield of 278.4 hundredweight (cwt) per acre, up from 278.2 cwt in 2007. Among potato-growing provinces, average yields in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec and Alberta in 2008 were down somewhat from 2007 levels.

StatsCan noted the U.S. seeded area estimate of fall-harvest potatoes of 932,900 acres is also up less than one per cent from last year.

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