A new report warns that Mother Nature is coming after the nation’s french fry.
Cool conditions in October crippled some potato harvests with frost, likely increasing prices in potatoes and even a possible french fry shortage in the United States, according to Bloomberg.
“French fry demand has just been outstanding lately, and so supplies can’t meet the demand,” Travis Blacker, industry-relations director with the Idaho Potato Commission, told the news outlet.
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Some farmers in Alberta, Canada and Idaho were able to salvage some of the crops but those in Manitoba, Canada, North Dakota and Minnesota were buried under snow and rain, causing the farms to abandon those potatoes.
The lost crops come at a time when Canada has boosted its demand for potatoes, Bloomberg said.
Just how many potatoes were lost? About 12,000 Manitoba acres, or 18 percent of the province’s planted area, were left unharvested, the report said. About 6.5 percent of Alberta’s potatoes are estimated to be frost damaged. Manitoba is the country’s second-largest grower, followed by Alberta.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, domestic output will drop 6.1 percent this year, the lowest since 2010. In Idaho, the top producer, output is forecast to fall 5.5 percent, the report said.
The U.S. harvested 420 million hundredweights last year. A hundredweight is equal to roughly 100 pounds. By contrast, the U.S. is expected to harvest 30 million fewer hundredweights this year.