Title: Statistics on production, shipments and prices of Florida Irish potatoes
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Title: Statistics on production, shipments and prices of Florida Irish potatoes
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Full Text


February, 1959




Statistics


Agricultural Economics Mimeo
Report 59-8




On Production, Shipments And


Prices Of Florida Irish Potatoes


D. L. Brooke and R.


Fig. 1.--Unloading Potatoes at a Packinghouse


DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS


GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA













TABLE OF CONTENTS



Page


SUMMARY . . . . . . ... i


INTRODUCTION . . . . . .

PRODUCTION OF POTATOES IN FLORIDA . . .
Trend in Acres, Yield, Production and Value . .
Relative Trend in the Production of Potatoes
in Florida and the United States . . .
Trend in Winter and Spring Acreage in Peninsular Florida

MOVEMENT OF POTATOES . .. . . .
Shipment of Stored Crop and New Potatoes from Florida
and Other States . . . .
Shipment of Potatoes from Various Areas in Florida .

PRICES OF POTATOES . . . . . .
Variation in Monthly Prices of Potatoes by Decades .
Seasonal Price Pattern for Florida Potatoes . .
Farm Price of Potatoes in April in Florida
and the United States . ..........
Relation Between Production and Price of Potatoes
in Florida . . .. .
Relation Between Shipments and Prices of Potatoes ..
Relation Between Prices Received for Potatoes in
Florida and the General Level of All Farm Prices
in the United States . . .
Relation Between Prices Received for Potatoes in
Florida and the General Level of Prices Paid by
Farmers in the United States . . . .
Comparison of Average Price Received for Potatoes
with Parity Price, 1946 to 1958 . . ..


COST OF PRODUCING POTATOES . .. .

APPENDIX ... .. . . ...


* 1





.... 5


S. 13
. 13
. 13

. 17
. 17
S. 18

18

S. 22
. 24


*. 26

. 28


* 28


. . 31

. . 33









SUMMARY


While there have been significant trends in the potato industry in
Florida during the past 35 to 40 years, the most important changes have
occurred since the end of World War II. During the four year period
1954-55 to 1957-58, ano.average of 44,600 acres of potatoes were harvested
per season with an average yield of 143 hundredweight per acre. This was
39 hundredweight or 38 percent more than the average of the 1944-45 to
1948-49 period. Average production during the 1954-55 to 1957-58 period
was 6,373,000 hundredweight and cash value $19,654,000. Compared with
the five seasons 1939-40 to 1943-44, production increased 199 percent
and value increased 284 percent.

At the present time Florida produces 2.9 percent of the total
United States production as compared to less than 1 percent during the
years 1935-39.

The trend in acreage of potatoes for winter and spring harvest
has been quice similar from the 1938-39 season to the present time. Of
the total acres in Peninsular Florida, that for winter harvest is about
37 percent and for spring harvest about 63 percent. During the period
1953-54 to 1957-58, approximately 59 percent of the winter potato acre-
age was in Dade county and 88 percent of the spring acreage in the
Hastings area.

Shipments of new crop potatoes begin in December, increase until
April and end in June. The volume of movement of new crop potatoes is
small compared to that of stored potatoes. Stored crop potatoes move to
market at the rate of 4,500 to 6,000 cars weekly from January to the
middle of April. Thereafter, stored crop movement declines rapidly
each week to end in June.

Very few new potatoes nove from states other than Florida before
the latter part of April. After that time shipments from other states
increase rapidly and about equal those from Florida by the middle of
May.

Although potatoes are shipped from Peninsular Florida from
December to June, nearly 90 percent of the crop moves in March, April
and May. During December and January practically all of the Florida
shipments originate in the Lake Okeechobee and Fort Myers-Immokalee
areas. One-half of the volume in February and over two-thirds in
March is from Dade county. In April, about one-fourth of the shipments
are from Dade county and nearly three-fifths from the Hastings area.
During May and June from 85 to 90 percent of the Florida shipments are
from the Hastings area. Of the shipments from Peninsular Florida for
the five seasons 1952-53 to 1956-57, 55 percent originated in the
Hastings area, 25 percent in Dade county, 15 percent in other South
Florida counties and 5 percent in other North Florida counties.







Prices received for potatoes by Florida farmers are usually highest
in January and decline as the season progresses. The difference between
the January and June price has been increasing in recent years. The
Florida price of potatoes usually moves with the price of all potatoes
in the United States but at a higher level. As the production of Florida
potatoes has increased they have become less of a luxury item and the
relative spread between Florida prices and all potato prices has been
decreasing.

Normally there is an inverse relationship between Florida pro-
duction and price of potatoes. Prices decline as volume of shipments
increase. Prices do not increase when shipments decline in the State
because volume of new potatoes moving from other areas is high.

The index of prices received for Florida potatoes tends to
fluctuate with and around the index of prices of all farm commodities
in the United States. Since 1946-47 the Florida price has been below
the United States all commodity index in eight seasons and equal to
or above this index in only five seasons. Florida potato prices have
also fluctuated more than prices paid by farmers in the United States
for commodities used in production. Since the 1948-49 season Florida's
potato price has been equal to or below the index of prices paid by
farmers in the United States with an ever widening spread between the
two indexes.

Florida potato prices have averaged 81 percent or less of the
Florida parity price in seven of the last 13 seasons. However, during
this period there was a substantial increase in production. Because
of improvements in production technology, farmers apparently found it
profitable to increase production at lower relative prices.

Production costs usually fluctuate less in the Hastings area
than in other areas of the State. Generally, costs have increased more
in the Everglades and Fort Myers areas. Only in the Fort Myers area
have the profits of the good seasons failed to offset losses in the
unprofitable seasons from 1953 to 1957.










STATISTICS ON PRODUCTION, SHIPMENTS AND
PRICES OF POTATOES IN FLORIDA

by

D. L. Brooke and R. E. L. Greenel


INTRODUCTION


This publication was prepared to present statistical data

relating to the production and marketing of Irish potatoes in Florida.

These data are needed by commodity groups and others who use factual

information as background material for the formulation of policies on

marketing and other problems related to the Irish potato industry in

the State.


PRODUCTION OF POTATOES IN FLORIDA


Most counties in Florida produce some Irish potatoes for home

use if not for sale. However, commercial production is limited to

six major areas. The commercial crop is classified into winter and

spring production. The winter crop is produced in Dade, Palm Beach,

Collier, Hendry and Lee counties. The spring crop is grown in St. Johns,

Flagler, Putnam, Clay, Alachua and Escambia counties with a relatively

small volume of production from some South Florida counties.


Trend in Acres, Yield, Production and Value

Acres.--The acreage of Irish potatoes harvested in Florida has

ranged from 16,000 in the 1920-21 season to 54,300 in the 1956-57


1Associate Agricultural Economist and Agricultural Economist,
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station.









season (Table 1 and Fig. 2). Acreage harvested declined sharply during

the late forties but increased significantly following the release of

acreage controls.

Yield per acre.--Per acre yields of Irish potatoes have shown a

significant increase since World War II. The greatest increase occurred

during the period 1950-54. The highest yield on record in Florida occurred

in the 1953-54 season when the State average was 178 hundredweight per

acre. The average yield during the five year period 1949-50 to 1953-54

was 153 hundredweight per acre. This was 49 hundredweight or nearly

47 percent greater than the yield during the preceding five year period.

From 1954-55 to 1957-58 the average yield was 143 hundredweight per acre

or 38 percent above the 1944-45 to 1948-49 average.

Growers rapidly adopted new higher yielding varieties of potatoes

which performed well under Florida conditions. They are using more seed

and fertilizer per acre and following better soil moisture and disease

and insect control methods as they are developed. The above factors,

together with relatively favorable growing weather were largely respon-

sible for the increase in yields per acre.

Production.--The increase in yield per acre coupled with an

increase in acreage from the low point reached during the 1947-48 season

has resulted in a substantial increase in total production. The largest

production on record was the 7,065,000 hundredweight harvested during

the 1956-57 season. For the four seasons 1954-55 to 1957-58 production

averaged 6,373,000 hundredweight. This was 132 percent larger than the

average 1945-49 production and nearly triple the average annual production

for the period 1940-44.





Table l.--Acreage, Yield, Production and Value of Florida Irish Potatoes, 1919-
20 to 1957-58 and Five-Season Averages, 1919-20 to 1953-54


Season : Acres : Yield :Production of: Average


1919-20
1920721
1921-22
1922-23
1923-24
1924-25
1925-26
1926-27
1927-28
1928-29
1929-30
1930-31
1931-32
1932-33
1933-34
1934-35
1935-36
1936-37
1937-38
1938-39
1939-40
1940-41
1941-42
1942-43
1943-44
1944-45
1945-46
1946-47
1947-48
1948-49


1949-50
1950-51
1951-52
1952-53
1953-54
1954-55
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58a
Five Season Averages
1919-20--1923-24
1924-25--1928-29
1929-30--1933-34
1934-35--1938-39
1939-40--1943-44
1944-45--1948-49
1949-50--1953-54
1954-55--1957-58b


: Harvested : per Acre
Hundredweight


22,000
16,000
26,000
19,500
28,000
21,900
23,100
28,000
31,000
22,000
31,000
27,000
21,500
17,000
23,500
24,800
24,500
31,300
31,400
26,700
25,600
26,00
25,000
26,600
28,600
31,100
35,300
23,100
20,700
21,800

24,600
24,200
30,600
41,500
32,800
38,000
41,700
54,300
44,400


22,300
25,200
24,000
27,740
26,520
26,400
30,740
44,600


58
58
66
55
53
74
71
63
75
71
48
79
42
79
84
58
62
73
80
78
97
70
92
77
67
97
102
79
102
147

136
156
150
148
178
160
162
140
135


58
71
65
71
80
104
153
143


:Value in cwt.: Price
,LOoO Dollars per
Hundredweight Hundredweight
1,267 6.67
922 3.33
1,716 2.75
1,076 3.67
1,478 3.57
1,630 2.90
1,636 5.07
1,764 3.12
2,338 2.47
1,558 3.01


1,488
2,138
903
1,346
1,974
1,443
1,515
2,271
2,525
2,078
2,484
1,877
2,294
2,065
1,927
3,021
3,606
1,817
2,107
3,205
3,351
3,774
4,589
5,926
5,839
6,030
6,766
7,065
5,582

1,292
1,785
1,570
1,966
2,129
2,751
4,696
6,373


3.10
1.78
2.13
1.42
1.88
1.73
2.42
2.20
1.17
1.82
1.52
1.50
2.57
3.23
3.33
3.98
3.25
2.65
4.17
3.84

2.80
3.07
4.11
2.66
2.52
3.99
3.65
1.97
2.82


3.94
3.25
2.04
1.82
2.40
3.61
3.00
3.08


aPreliminary data.
bFour Season Average.
Source: USDA, Agricultural Statistics, 1957 and Florida Crop and Livestock
Reporting Service, Florida Vegetable Crops.


: Total
: Value
1 000
Dollars
8,448
3,072
4,719
3,947
5,273
4,726
8,287
5,498
5,785
4,695
4,606
3,818
1,933
1,908
3,708
2,504
3,652
4,998
2,960
3,774
3,766
2,803
5,901
6,675
6,431
12,033
11,744
4,809
8,772
12,321

9,379
11,599
18,877
15,747
14,727
24,279
24,723
13,888
15,727


5,092
5,798
3,195
3,578
5,114
9,936
14,066
19,654









.IA
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ao u-4
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Value.--Increased production has resulted in a substantial

increase in cash income from potatoes. The highest income on record

was the $24,723,000 received by farmers for their 1955-56 crop. This

was more than 4 times the income received annually during the five

year period 1940-44 and 76 percent greater than that received during

the period 1950-54. Even with a substantial increase in production,

prices remained relatively favorable and income increased along with

production except for the 1956-57 and 1957-58 seasons. Income was

lower for the 1956-57 season than for any of the immediately preceding

five years or the 1957-58 season. Reduced income in the two latter

seasons may indicate a change from the increasing value trend since

World War II.


Relative Trend in the Production of Potatoes in
Florida and the United States

During the past two decades there has been little or no change

in the production of potatoes in the United States (Fig. 3). A slight

increase during the early forties was followed by a decrease for the

period 1948-56. Florida's production, on the other hand, increased

gradually from 1935 to 1946 and sharply during the 1950-57 period. For

the past six seasons Florida production has been three times what it

was during the 1935-39 period. Florida produced 2.9 percent of the

total United States production in 1956-57 as compared to less than

1 percent during the years 1935-39.


Trend in Winter and Spring Acreage in Peninsular Florida

With the exception of a small acreage in Escambia county, com-

mercial potato areas in Florida are located east and south of the



















Index


350 '/


300 -


Florida -j

/

/


- /







I-- ,

S'- Unite<


.I


I I I
* A I ~k I I I- ~ I ~ ~ I I


1940


1945


1950


Years


Fig. 3.--Relative Trend in Production of Irish Potatoes,
United States and Florida, 1935 to 1953.
(1935-39 = 100)


Source: Appendix Table 1.


250



200


150


50 -


I States


0
193


5


1955


I I I A I V, j I --L..L---J- i


I 6 : I










Suwannee River (Fig. 4). Since most potatoes from Escambia county are

shipped with those from Baldwin county, Alabama, acreage in the Escambia

area has been excluded in presenting data in some sections of this report.

Some small production in Holmes, Santa Rosa and Washington counties has

also been excluded when applicable. Peninsular Florida has been divided

into two areas--North and South Florida. All counties south of the Pasco,

Sumter, Lake, Orange and Volusia county lines have been included in South

Florida.

From the 1938-39 season to the present time, the trend in acreage

of Winter and Spring harvested potatoes has been quite similar (Fig. 5).

Acreage declined in both harvesting periods from 1938-39 to 1941-42,

then increased to the 1945-46 season. Acreage declined sharply after

the 1945-46 season for one season in the Spring area and for two seasons

in the Winter harvesting area. Following two seasons of adjustment,

harvested acreage increased steadily in both areas, reaching a peak in

the 1952-53 season. Both areas reduced acreage in 1953-54 but increased

acreage for the three succeeding seasons. The decline in Winter har-

vested acreage was greater than that of acreage for Spring harvest in

1957-58. Of the total acreage in Peninsular Florida for the five sea-

sons 1953-54 to 1957-58, 37 percent was for Winter harvest and 63 per-

cent for Spring harvest.

Percent of Winter Potato Acreage in Various Areas.--The largest

proportion of the potatoes in the Winter harvesting area is produced

in Dade county (Fig. 6). However, the proportion of the Winter crop

grown in Dade county has fluctuated widely over the last 18 years. In

the 1939-40 season, acreage in Dade county accounted for 63 percent of












t 30 /
46, I -/- 32
6 66 67 .,,--* 20 7' ~
-- -- -3- ----7 t /----

Si- 39 \ 65 62
X- S.


North
Florida


*--Hastings


ALPHABETICAL LIST OF COUNTIES IN FLORIDA
NUMBERED TO AGREE WITH KEY MAP


1. Alachua
2. Baker
3. Bay
4. Bradford
5. Brevard
6. Broward
7. Calhoun
8. Charlotte
9. Citrus
10. Clay
11. Collier
12. Columbia
13. Dade
14. DeSoto
15. Dixie
16. Duval
17. Escambia
18. Flagler
19. Franklin
20. Gadsden
21. Gilchrist
/'22. Glades
23. Gulf
24. Hamilton
25. Hardee
26. Hendry
27. Hernando
28. Highlands
29. Hillsborough
30. Holmes
31. Indian River
32. Jackson
33. Jefferson
34. Lafayette


35. Lake
36. Lee
37. Leon
38. Levy
39. Liberty
40. Madison
41. Manatee
42. Marion
43. Martin
44. Monroe
45. Nassau
46. Okaloosa
47. Okeechobee
48. Orange
49. Osceola
50. Palm. Beach
51. Pasco
52. Pinellas
53. Polk
54. Putnam
55. Santa Rosa
56. Sarasota
57. Seminole
58. St. Johns
59. St. Lucie
60. Sumter
61. Suwannee
62. Taylor
63. Union
64. Volusia
65. Wakulla
66. Walton
67. Washington


South
Florida


Fig. 4.--Division of Peninsular
Florida into Irish Potato
Production Areas.













Acres

30,000-


28,000-


26,000-


24,000-


22,000-


20,000-


18,000 -


16,000-


14,000 -


12,000-


10,000 -


8,000-


6,000-


0
1934-35



Fig. 5.




Source:


'i

I I
t I



I


.Spring
Acreage


I'
I'
/


/


/ I




\ inter



S/\ / Acreage
' /


1939-40 1944-45 1949-50 1954-55 195

Seasons

--Trend in Acres of Winter and Spring Irish Potatoes
Harvested, Peninsular Florida,
1938-39 to 1957-58.


Appendix Table 2.


9-60


I


I


























Other South Florida Counties








9........ .







7. .............9 ......

9.. .--T .........,.; -7-.,...,..9 T., .-


....... .......
.. .......... .
T,17 ,.T -'7 17T T,..... .... ....... 9~~9
...~~..... .. .. .....- ..
.....................
.-.............. . .
............. -. . .

!T 91!. . . . ., ..... 9
9 1- 7--- 1:7 9 .-. . . T9~ 1 T -1 91 7- T 91 1 1- ;7 T.711 Z! :T 7
.199.. -i~.~~~i~~i~i~~~~







,77 1 ; 7-'~ T 7'
7 %;~~ff;ttitil~r~~t~ ~ I
i''i' iiii~~,~~~i-Ti~i~iii ~ 7 C 7 4 7 T 7 7titl-!~lli~,


1944-45


1949-50


1954-55


Years



Fig. 6.--Percent of Winter Irish Potato Acreage in Selected Areas,
Florida, Seasons 1939-40 to 1957-58.





Source: Appendix Table 2.


Percent
100


90



80



70


1939-40









the total Winter plantings. For the next six seasons the proportion of the

Winter crop grown in Dade county declined, reaching a low of 48 percent in

the 1945-46 season. Dade county acreage increased to nearly 80 percent of

the total Winter crop in the 1947-48 season. Since that time the proportion

has tended to decrease. Dade county acreage was less than 50 percent of

the Winter crop total in the 1956-57 season and increased to 63 percent

in 1957-58. Plantings in the Fort Myers-Immokalee and Palm Beach-Martin

county areas have been increasing.

Percent of Spring Potato Acreage in Various Areas.--The Hastings

area grows the major proportion of the Spring potato acreage (Fig. 7).

Normally 80 percent or more of the acreage is in that area. The pro-

portion of the Spring acreage grown in the Hastings area declined from

the 1940-41 to 1945-46 season, reaching a low of 60 percent in that year.

During the past 10 years the proportion of the Spring acreage grown in

other North Florida counties decreased from 15 to as low as 4 percent

annually. For the five seasons 1953-54 to 1957-58, 88 percent of the

Spring acreage was grown in the Hastings area, 7 percent in other North

Florida counties and 5 percent in South Florida counties.


MOVEMENT OF POTATOES


Potatoes in the late producing areas are stored as they are dug

and are shipped to market during the winter and spring months. The first

new crop potatoes begin to move to market from Florida in late December

or early January. During the early part of the season, new crop volume

is small and the amount of stored crop potatoes moved into the market

is an important factor in the demand for new crop potatoes.








12











Percent
100
Other South Florida Counties



,'Other North :/ -
90 .: ~~~~~~~~~-:.:--:---,.. ----.--I:-.------------.:.-:..------------..-:-:-:---.-

Florida CountieM --:........


.......... .. .. ....
--------------- ----- -- --- --

70 T. N. ---"-, -- -. ... ... .. ..
....... .................



.............. .......... ._1.............
;iii~i~'i~i-..9-.-,--~~~~




-. .... ..................9..9 ...-.- --....,.

40 T!9- ,0 1994 1995 19 5
Hastings Area

... . ........ ....



20 .. .... .
. . .-.--- -

--.. 1 V ,- ..- - - --.



0-



Years

Fig. 7.--Percent of Spring Irish Potato Acreage in Selected Areas,
Florida, Seasons 1939-40 to 1957-58.



Source: Appendix Table 2.










Shipment of Stored Crop and New Potatoes
from Florida and Other States

During the past five seasons the movement of stored crop potatoes

has ranged between 4,500 and 6,000 cars per week from early January until

the middle of April of each year (Fig. 8). Thereafter, stored crop move-

ment declines rapidly each week and is usually completed by the end of

June. Florida is almost the sole producer of new crop potatoes from

December through late April. Volume is light in December and January but

increases with Dade county harvesting in February, March and early April.

The volume of potatoes moving from Florida does not reach 500 cars per

week until the early part of March (Figs. 8 and 9). During the past

five seasons, volume of 1,000 cars per week was not reached until the

second or third week in April. The advent of harvesting in the Hastings

area increases movement to 2,000 cars per week by early May. After the

third week in May, Florida shipments decrease rapidly, normally to end in

June. The peak movement of the Florida crop about equals the movement of

stored crop potatoes in mid-May.

The movement of new crop potatoes from states other than Florida

does not begin in volume until the second or third week in April when

harvesting starts in Alabama and California (Fig. 9). Volume from other

new crop states increases rapidly in May and is about equal to the Florida

volume by the peak of the Hastings season.


Shipment of Potatoes from Various Areas of Florida

Although potatoes are shipped from Peninsular Florida from

December to June, nearly 90 percent of the crop moves in March, April

and May (Fig. 10). The two peak months are April and May when the crop

is moving in volume from the Hastings area.








Carlots




7,000-


6,000-


, \


\ t \

\ \
\ i
It
\ i Stored Crop *"
\l


5,000


4,000 -


\ / New Crop


3,000 -


2,000 -






1,000 -


C C I I I i


3 4 1 2 3 4 5 1
Dec. Jan.


234 1
Feb.


2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4
Mar. Apr. May June
Weeks


Fig. 8.--Weekly Carlot Shipments of Stored and New Crop Irish
Potatoes During the Florida Season, Average 1954-58.


Source: D. L. Brooke, Florida Truck Crg. Competition, Agr. Econ.
Mimeo. Reports, 55-2, 56-1, 57-2 58-4 and 59-3.


'! j ; I I i .


I
r r
r






















































i I 1 I I & 1 I I & I
3 4 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4
Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June

Weeks

Fig. 9.--Weekly Carlot Shipments of Stored Crop and New Crop Irish
Potatoes from Florida and Other States During the Florida
Season, Average 1954-58.


Source: D. L. Brooke, Florida Truck Crop Competition, Agr. Econ.
Mimeo. Reports 55-2, 56-1, 57-2, 58-4 and 59-3.
























Percent
100- 0T5



90-



80-



70- I,



60- ,



50-



40-



30- ;;v.



20- ^,


10-




Dec.


Percent monthly shipments are of yearly shipments


4444
44,4

i. '







4 ..
i n.
ii t *







', 4 t




' t '-'
Ja. 4









'.4.
Jan


Ft e









Feb.


,44


.I t



I I



Mar .


SI I



I'll
II

II

'ill

4,4 4
Apr.


I'll








'Iii

' I




'Itii


4.'; 1




Ivay


I I



III'
I '



441 I
1'1 I

II





S''



June,


ii



SI I,





I!i j I: .


I i

YeariiiIIiii


=--j

Dade County
25 percent






Other South
Florida Counties
15 percent








Hastings Area
55 percent












Other North Florida
Counties 5 percent


Months



Fig. 10.--Percent Monthly Potato Shipments are of Yearly Shipments and Percent
Shipments from Various Areas are of Monthly Shipments, Florida (East
and South of Suwannee River) Five Season Average, 1952-53 to 1956-57.


Source: USDA, AMS, Florida Crop and Livestock Reporting Service, Florida
Vegetable Crops, Vols. IX through XIII.











The first movement of potatoes from Florida is usually from the

Lake Okeechobee section. During December and January practically all of

the shipments originate there and in the Fort Myers-Immokalee area. Ship-

ments from Dade county begin in February and continue until early April.

One-half of the volume in February and over two-thirds in March is from

Dade county. The end of shipments from Dade county, about April 10, coin-

cides with early harvesting in the Hastings area. During April, about

three-fifths of the shipments are from the Hastings area, one-fourth

from Dade county, 10 percent from other South Florida counties and 2

percent from other North Florida counties. During May and June, 85 to

90 percent of the shipments are from the Hastings area and from 7 to 14

percent from other North Florida counties. Of the shipments from

Peninsular Florida for the five seasons 1952-53 to 1956-57, 55 percent

originated in the Hastings area, 25 percent in Dade county, 15 percent

in other South Florida counties and 5 percent in other North Florida

counties.


PRICES OF POTATOES


Prices received for potatoes by Florida farmers depend upon:

(1) the season of the year in which the potatoes are sold, (2) the

volume of stored potatoes, (3) the size of the Florida crop, and

(4) the general price level.


Variation in Monthly Prices of Potatoes by Decades

Average monthly prices received for potatoes by Florida farmers

normally decrease as the season progresses. For the decades since 1910,

highest average prices were generally received in January except for the










decades 1910 and 1920 when prices were highest in March (Fig. 11). In the

nine year period 1950-58, the January price averaged $3.92, February $3.53,

March $3.36, April $3.66, May $2.88 and June $2.57 per hundredweight. The

increase in average price during April over March was due primarily to high

prices resulting from the late March 1955 freeze.

The amount of spread between the January and June price has in-

creased each decade since 1930. During the decade 1920-29, the drop in

price from January to June was $0.90 per hundredweight, $0.03 in the dec-

ade 1930-39, $1.01 in the decade 1940-49 and $1.35 in the period 1950-58.


Seasonal Price Pattern for Florida Potatoes

The normal pattern for Florida potato prices is for a rise from

December to January and then a decline during the remainder of the season

(Fig. 12). As a rule, prices in January average 15 to 30 percent above

the average annual price. The pattern of prices during the 1950-58 period

was different from that of the 1930-39 or the 1940-49 decade. The increase

in April was due partly to high prices in 1955 resulting from a freeze in

that year. Increased production of March harvested potatoes in South

Florida has also resulted in a lower than normal March price for potatoes.

Greater production in areas outside of Florida harvesting in June and July

have lowered prices for those months.


Farm Price of Potatoes in April in Florida
and the United States

The price received for potatoes in April by farmers in Florida is

very closely correlated with the April price for all potatoes in the

United States (Fig. 13). Normally, the Florida price moves up or down

with the United States price but at a higher level. However, with the

















5.00 -





4.17 -





3.33 -..





2.50 -





1.67 -





.83 -





0
Dec.


Months


Fig. 11.--Average Monthly Prices Received for Irish
Decades, Florida, 1909-19 to 1950-58.


Potatoes by


Source: Computed from: A. H. Spurlock and C. V. Noble,
Florida Farm Prices, Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 399,
June, 1944 and Agr. Econ. Mimeo. Report 49-9.
USDA, AMS, iAjrcltural Prices, May, 1954, Jan.
1956, Sept. 1957, Sept. 1958.


Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June


July





















































Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May


June July


Months


Fig. 12.--Seasonal Price Pattern, Florida Irish
Selected Periods 1930 to 1958.


Potatoes,


Source: Computed from: A. H. Spurlock and C. V. Noble, Florida
Farm Prices, Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 399, June, 1944
and Agr. Econ. Mimeo. Report 49-9. USDA, AMS, Agri-
cultural Prices, May, 1954, Jan. 1956, Sept. 1957,
Sept. 1950.


Index
130


0'
Dec.











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increase in production of potatoes in Florida during the past few years,

the spread between prices in Florida and the United States has tended to

decrease. Between 1910 and 1958 the largest relative spread in prices

between Florida and the United States came in the period 1920 to 1925.

The annual average April price spread during the decade of the 1920's

was $1.89 as compared to $0.94 in the 1930's, $0.97 in the 1940's and

$1.32 per hundredweight annually from 1950 to 1958.


Relation Between Production and Price
of Potatoes in Florida

From year to year there tends to be an inverse relationship between

production and prices received by farmers for potatoes in Florida (Fig. 14).

If production increases, prices decline and if production decreases, prices

increase. An upward trend characterized the production of potatoes from

1920 to 1930. During this period, prices generally declined from the

high levels attained during World War I. During the 1930's there was

relatively little trend in either production or price. Since 1941 there

has been a decided upward trend in the production of potatoes. Production

increased each year since the 1946-47 season except in the 1953-54 and

1957-58 seasons. Even though acreage decreased in some years, production

increased because of higher yields per acre. Although prices have fluc-

tuated considerably since the 1944-45 season, a slight downward trend is

evident. The price of $1.97 per hundredweight received for the 1956-57

crop by Florida farmers was the lowest season average price since the

1940-41 season.

The 1957-50 season average price of $2.82 per hundredweight for

Florida potatoes indicates the probability of a profitable season for










































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Florida growers. This would be true given normal yields and costs of pro-

duction in all areas. However, this was not the situation. Mid-month prices

per hundredweight for the season were: January $3.75, February $4.80, March

$5.20, April $5.00, May $2.80 and June $1.65. These prices followed the

normal decline during the season but they reflected only that production

harvested and sold. What they failed to take into account was the loss

of potatoes. These were particularly severe in the 1957-58 season in the

Fort Myers-Immokalee and Hastings areas. In the former area, heavy weather

losses were sustained prior to the maturity period and yields were low on

the harvested acreage. In the latter, the price was too low to repay costs

of harvesting, packing and selling when the potatoes matured. Growers

reduced losses by not harvesting part of the crop. Low prices in late

April, May and June, together with slackened demand for potatoes, added

up to a relatively poor season for Hastings and the North Florida area.


Relation Between Shipments and Prices of Potatoes

Prices received for potatoes by Florida farmers generally show an

increase from December to January and then decline from month to month

during the Florida season (Fig. 15). Shipments, on the other hand, show

a steady month to month increase, reaching a peak in May. Although ship-

ments from Florida are small in June, new potatoes are moving in volume

from other areas and prices usually continue downward. Because of the

lateness in the season and hot, humid weather, quality of the potatoes

shipped from Florida in June is probably not as good as that of those

shipped earlier.













Carlots
per month
9,000





7,500 -

/
/
/
6,000 -





4,500 -





3,000 -





1,500 -


0 -' '
Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May

Months


Price
per cwt.
(dollars)
4.00








3.00








2.00








1.00


June


Fig. 15.--Monthly Trend in Shipments and Price of Florida
Potatoes, Five Season Average, 1953-54 to 1957-58.


Source: D. L. Brooke, Truck Crop Competition, Agr. Econ. Mimeo.
Reports 55-2, 56-1, 57-2, 58-4 and 59-3.











Relation of Prices Received for Potatoes in Florida and the
General Level of All Farm Prices in the United States

Prices received for potatoes in Florida tend to fluctuate with and

around the index of prices of all farm commodities in the United States

(Fig. 16). From 1919-20 to the 1937-38 season, the index of prices

received for potatoes in Florida was above the index of prices of all farm

commodities in the United States. From 1939-40 to 1945-46 the index of

Florida potato prices was above the index of all farm commodities in the

United States except for the 1941-42 season. Since 1946-47 the Florida

price index has been above the U. S. all commodity index in five seasons

and below in eight seasons.

Potato growers are quite conscious of the fact that the cost of

items of production used for potatoes has continued to increase but they

have not been able to sell their product at a higher price. However, many

probably fail to realize that the volume of production has doubled. The

volume being produced at the present time is such that Florida potatoes

must be sold more in direct competition with the late (stored) crops.

This explains to some degree the relationship of the Florida potato price

index to the United States all commodity price index.

During the past two decades, because of better varieties, increased

use of seed and fertilizer, better insect and disease control and improve-

ments in technology, increases in yields per acre have been large. This

has helped to decrease per unit cost of production or has kept unit cost

from increasing as much as individual cost items. With an improvement

in technology, some of the savings is usually passed on to the consumer

in the form of a better quality product, a lower relative price or both.




























































































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It appears that consumers have received some of both of these benefits

with respect to Florida potatoes.


Relation Between Prices Received for Potatoes in Florida
and the General Level of Prices Paid by Farmers
in the United States

Prices received for potatoes in Florida have fluctuated more than

prices paid by farmers in the United States for commodities used in pro-

duction (Fig. 17). From 1919-20 to 1930-31, the index of prices received

for potatoes in Florida was above the index of prices paid by farmers in

the United States. From 1931-32 to 1940-41 the index of Florida potato

prices fluctuated around the index of prices paid. Between 1941-42 and

1948-49 potato prices were above prices paid except for the 1946-47 sea-

son. Since 1948-49 Florida's season average potato price has been equal

to or below the index of prices paid by farmers in the United States,

with an ever widening spread between the two indexes.

Potato producers have bridged this gap by increasing yields and

by adopting improved technological methods, as explained earlier. In

seasons such as 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1957 and 1958 the increased pro-

duction per acre has not been sufficient to offset the rising costs of

items used in production.


Comparison of Average Price Received for Potatoes
with Parity Price, 1946 to 1958

In only three seasons since 1946 has the average price received

for potatoes in Florida been higher than the Florida parity price equiva-

lent (Table 2). In three other seasons average prices received have been

equivalent to 92 to 99 percent of parity. In four of the five seasons

1949-50 to 1953-54, the average price received for potatoes in Florida




























































































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Table 2.--United States Parity Price of Irish Potatoes, Florida Parity
Price Equivalent and Average Florida Price per Hundredweight
and Percent Florida Price was of Florida Parity Price Equiv-
alent for Crop Years 1946 to 1958

: Amount per hundredweight : Percent Florida
: United States : Florida parity : Average : price of Florida
: parity : price : Florida : parity price
: pricea : equivalent : price : equivalent

1946 $2.18 $3.28 $3.25 99
1947 2.77 4.02 2.65 66
1948 3.08 4.03 4.17 103
1949 3.02 4.15 3.83 92
1950 2.83 3.98 2.78 70

1951 2.98 4.15 3.07 74
1952 2.90 4.15 4.07 98
1953 2.75 3.78 2.68 71
1954 2.55 3.52 2.53 72
1955 2.44 3.16 3.99 126

1956 2.34 3.53 3.65 103
1957 2.44 3.86 1.97 51
19586 2.44 3.49 2.82 81

aAverage of monthly parity price during Florida marketing period.
bSubject to revision.

Source: USDA, AMS, Vegetable Br., Fruit & Veg. Div. Itr. 2 Jan. 1959.


averaged 70 to 74 percent of the State parity price equivalent. It was

during this period and again in 1957 and 1958 when season average prices

were 51 and 81 percent, respectively, of the Florida parity price equiv-

alent that farmers became seriously concerned about prices received for

potatoes. However, it should be noted that total production for the

period 1949-50 to 1953-54 was 70 percent more than the preceding five

seasons and the cash value of potatoes sold was 41 percent more. Due

to improvements in production technology, farmers apparently found it

profitable to increase their production of potatoes, even at relatively

lower prices in relation to parity.











COST OF PRODUCING POTATOES


The cost of producing potatoes in selected areas of Florida is

shown in Table 3. There has been a fluctuation in costs and returns in

all areas. Total crop cost has fluctuated least in the Hastings area.

Cost in the Everglades has increased relatively more than that of other

areas. Everglades growers, despite widely varying yields, reported pro-

fits in four of the five seasons. In only one of the five seasons shown

(1956-57) have prices failed to equal costs in all areas. Only in the

Fort Myers area have the profits of the good seasons failed to offset

losses in the unprofitable seasons for the period shown.









Table 3.--Yields and Per Unit Costs and Returns for Irish Potatoes
in Selected Areas in Florida, by Seasons, 1953-57


Yields and Costs 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957


Hastings Area

Yield per acre in hundredweight 148 188 164 169 150
Amount per hundredweight
Growing cost $1.73 $1.22 $1.53 $1.49 $1.71
Harvesting cost .86 .84 .90 .86 .81
Total crop cost 2.59 2.06 2.43 2.35 2.52
Crop sales 2.44 2.69 3.69 3.48 1.97
Net returns -.15 .63 1.26 1.13 -.55

Dade County

Yield per acre in hundredweight 164 195 183 182 158
Amount per hundredweight
Growing cost $2.08 $1.49 $1.70 $1.78 $2.03
Harvesting cost 1.12 1.11 1.14 1.16 1.18
Total crop cost 3.20 2.60 2.84 2.94 3.21
Crop sales 3.01 2.50 4.15 4.43 2.36
Net returns -.19 -.10 1.31 1.49 -.85

Everglades

Yield per acre in hundredweight 106 87 149 125 76
Amount per hundredweight
Growing cost $1.99 $1.81 $1.15 $1.44 $2.37
Harvesting cost 1.50 1.39 1.33 1.16 1.29
Total crop cost 3.49 3.20 2.48 2.60 3.66
Crop sales 3.83 3.31 3.74 3.51 2.92
Net returns .34 .11 1.26 .91 -.74

Fort Myers

Yield per acre in hundredweight 150 158 167 160 117
Amount per hundredweight
Growing cost $2.30 $1.72 $1.88 $2.03 $2.59
Harvesting cost 1.37 1.15 1.24 1.33 .86
Total crop cost 3.67 2.87 3.12 3.36 3.45
Crop sales 3.58 2.89 3.65 3.83 2.37
Net returns -.09 .02 .53 .47 -1.08


Source: D. L. Brooke, Costs and Returns from Vegetable Crops in Florida,
Vols. VIII through XII, Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Mimeo. Reports,
54-11, 55-7, 56-7, 57-6 and 58-8.






































APPENDIX










Table 1.--Index and Production of Irish Potatoes, United States and Florida,


1934-35 to 1957-58


(1935-39 a 100)


: Production per hundredweight : Index (1935-39 100)
Date
United States : Florida : United States Florida
(000) (000)


1934-35 227,332 1,443 106.6 73.4
1935-36 194,369 1,515 91.1 77.0
1936-37 225,864 2,271 105.9 115.5
1937-38 213,505 2,525 100.1 128.4
1938-39 205,419 2,078 96.3 105.7
1939-40 226,147 2,484 106.0 126.3
1940-41 213,414 1,877 100.1 95.5
1941-42 221,335 2,294 103.8 116.7
1942-43 275,327 2,063 129.1 104.9
1943-44 230,351 1,927 108.0 98.0
1944-45 251,634 3,021 118.0 153.6
1945-46 292,383 3,606 137.1 183.4
1946-47 233,386 1,817 109.4 92.4
1947-48 269,932 2,107 126.6 107.2
1948-49 241,407 3,205 113.2 163.0
1949-50 257,932 3,351 120.9 170.4
1950-51 192,308 3,774 90.2 191.9
1951-52 209,455 4,589 98.2 233.4
1952-53 228,040 5,926 106.9 301.4
1953-54 213,614 5,839 100.1 296.9
1954-55 228,974 6,080 107.3 309.2
1955-56 243,716 6,766 114.3 344.1
1956-57 239,539 7,065 112.3 359.3
1957-58a 263,782 5,582 123.7 283.9


preliminary data.

Source: USDA, Agricultural Statistics, 1957 and Florida Crop and Livestock
Reporting Service, Florida Vegetable Crops.









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Table 3.--Average Monthly Prices Received for Potatoes by Decades,
Florida, 1949-50 to 1950-58

Month
Year
Dec. Jan. : Feb. : Mar. Apr. May June July
Dollars per Hundredweight


1949-50 $3.75 $3.17 $3.00 $3.17 $2.67 $2.50 $2.50
1950-51 $4.33 4.50 3.83 3.50 4.25 2.67 2.33 1.92
1951-52 3.75 5.17 4.33 4.17 4.17 3.58 3.58 3.58
1952-53 5.00 5.00 3.50 2.67 2.83 2.17 1.50 1.50
1953-54 3.58 3.75 2.92 2.08 2.08 3.00 2.50 -
1954-55 1.50 3.25 3.58 3.42 5.75 3.67 3.33
1955-56 3.00 3.15 3.95 3.89 3.48 4.15
1956-57 3.25 3.10 2.50 2.25 1.81 1.84 1.56
1957-58a 3.75 4.80 5.20 5.00 2.80 1.65 -


Total 26.66 35.27 31.78 30.24 32.95 25.88 23.10 9.50

Average 3.81 3.92 3.53 3.36 3.66 2.88 2.57 2.38


aPreliminary data.

Source: A. H. Spurlock and C. V. Noble, Florida Farm Prices, Fla. Agr. Exp.
Sta. Bul. 399, June, 1944 and Agr. Econ. Mimeo. Report 49-9. USDA,
AMS, Apgicultural Prices, May, 1954, Jan. 1956, Sept. 1957, Sept,
1958.





Table 4.--April Price Received by Farmers for Irish Potatoes,
United States and Florida, 1910 to 1958


Price per
Year


*
1910
1911
1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
1919
1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958a


United States
.603
.91
1.93
.745
1,09
.718
1.56
4.08
1.26
1.68
5.35
1.09
1.64
1.16
1.44
1.17
4.40
2.02
1.87
.958
2.40
1.27
.625
.662
1.25
.72
1.40
1.77
.82
1.20
1.32
.845
1.85
2.60
2.12
2.82
2.57
2.23
3.25
2.92
2.07
1.62
3.78
1.88
1.15
3.49
2.72
1.24
3.16


aPreliminary data.

Source: A. H. Spurlock and C. V. Noble, Florida Farm Prices,
Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 399, June 1944 and Agr. Econ.
Mimeo. Report 49-9. USDA, AMS, Agricultural Prices,
May 1954, Jan. 1956, Sept. 1957, Sept. 1958.


----


Hundredweight
S Florida
2.05
2.30
2.47
2.13
2.42
1.93
2.53
4.27
2.58
4.05
7.50
3.12
2.93
4.18
3.92
3.07
5.00
2.92
4.33
3.05
3.17
2.17
2.33
1.40
1.90
2.42
2.50
2.17
1.17
2.25
1.92
1.67
3.08
3.75
2.75
3.92
3.33
3.17
5.00
3.67
3.17
4.25
4.17
2.83
2.08
5.75
3.89
1.81
5.00







Table 5.--Index of Season Average Prices Received by Florida Farmers for
Irish Potatoes, Index of Prices Received for All Farm Commodities
in the United States and Index of Prices Paid by Farmers for Com-
modities, Interest, Taxes and Wage Rates in the United States,
1920 to 1958 (1947-49 = 100)


Year


1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958a


Index
Florida
Potato
Prices
188
94
77
103
100
82
143
88
70
85
87
50
60
40
53
49
68
62
33
51
43
42
72
91
94
112
91
75
117
108
79
86
116
75
71
112
103
55
79


Numbers (1947-49 = 10C
: United States
: Prices Received
: by Farmers
78
46
48
52
53
58
54
52
55
55
46
32
24
26
33
40
42
45
36
35
37
46
59
71
73
76
87
102
106
92
95
111
106
95
92
87
87
89
94


aPreliminary data.
Source: Computed from: A. H. Spurlock and C. V. Noble, Florida Farm
Prices, Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 399, June 1944 and Agr. Econ.
Mimeo. Report 49-9. USDA, Agricultural Statistics, 1957.

DLB:sd 2/18/59
Exp. Sta., Ag. Ec. 500


)

Prices Paid
by Farmers
86
62
60
64
64
66
64
64
65
64
60
52
45
44
48
50
50
52
50
49
50
53
61
68
73
76
83
96
104
100
102
113
115
112
112
112
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