Florida’s freeze has helped solidify the Red River Valley red potato market, and the benefits could be felt for some time.

Although Florida’s red potatoes escaped the widespread damage seen in other vegetable crops, growers there put potential losses in yields of up to 25%.

“The Florida situation has stabilized our red market and eliminated any downward pressure,” said Ted Kreis, marketing director for the Northern Plains Potato Growers, East Grand Forks, Minn. “Towards the end of February and through March, when supplies out of Florida really taper off, we should see an uptick in prices out of the valley.”

In addition, lower volumes in North Dakota also should help buoy markets, Kreis said. On Jan. 1, the state had 10.8 million cwt. of potatoes in storage, 14% less than a year ago and the fewest for that time of year since 1989.

On Jan. 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $7-7.50 for 50-pound cartons of size-A red potatoes from the Red River Valley, down from $10-11 last year at the same time. Size Bs were $14-16, down from $16-18

Florida freeze stabilizes red potato markets