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U.S. April potato stocks up 8 percent from last year

California fall potato stocks were estimated at 600 thousand cwt. as of April 1, 2008, 25 percent less than last year’s holdings. Stocks represented 14 percent of the 2007 fall production, compared to 21 percent of the previous year.

The 13 major potato States held 130 million cwt of potatoes in storage April 1, 2008, up 8 percent from a year ago and 12 percent above April 1, 2006. Potatoes in storage accounted for 33 percent of the 2007 fall storage States' production, up 2 percentage points from last year.

Klamath Basin stocks totaled 1.15 million cwt on April 1, 2008, down 18 percent from last year. Klamath Basin stocks include potatoes stored in California and Klamath County, Oregon.

Disappearance from the start of harvest to April 1 was at 270 million cwt, 1 percent above last year and up 4 percent from 2006. Shrink and loss, at 21.6 million cwt, was down 3 percent from the same period in 2007 but up 7 percent from 2006.

Processors have used 144 million cwt of 2007 crop potatoes so far this season, down 1 percent from last year's season-to-date usage but up 9 percent from 2 years ago. Idaho and Malheur County, Oregon total processing decreased 2 percent from a year ago and Maine's total processing was 5 percent below 2007. Washington and the rest of Oregon total processing was 3 percent higher than last season. Dehydrating usage accounted for 29.3 million cwt of the total processing, down 9 percent from last year but 10 percent above the same period in 2006.

Western states held 99.2 million cwt of potatoes in storage on April 1, up 14 percent from a year ago and 12 percent above 2006. Idaho's potato stocks were up 10 percent from last year; Washington's potato stocks were 40 percent above last year; and Oregon's stocks increased 14 percent from April 1, 2007. California's potato stocks decreased 25 percent from 2007, while Colorado and Montana's stocks were both down 17 percent from a year ago.

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