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USDA CONFIRMS RECORD WASHINGTON POTATO CROP

            USDA CONFIRMS RECORD WASHINGTON POTATO CROP
    MOSES LAKE, Wash., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was


released today by the Washington State Potato Commission:
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Olympia today confirmed what Washington potato growers have suspected all year long. The 1991 potato crop is a record high for production and acres harvested.
    The Washington Agricultural Statistics Service of the USDA released estimates showing 1991 production at 73,320,000 cwt. (hundredweight, the weight of 100 potatoes), or about 3.65 million tons.  This is an 8 percent increase over last year's record crop of 67.9 million cwt., or 3.4 million tons.
    The number of acres harvested was also a record high at 141,000 compared with last year's record of 132,000.  Russet Burbank is again the leading variety, accounting for about 70 percent of the total crop.
    Henry Michael, administrator and chief executive officer of the Washington State Potato Commission, said the state's high yield per acre is one reason for the record crop.  "Washington potato growers raise more potatoes per acre than growers in any other state," he said.
    State Statistician Doug Hasslen of USDA estimates 1991 yield at 520 cwt., or 26 tons, per acre.  Hasslen noted yield was slightly improved over last year but lower than the previous record set in 1988.
    Washington's increase in crop size this year was larger than the 5 percent increase nationally.  The total U.S. fall crop is forecast at 371 million cwt., or 18.55 million tons.  Acreage, yield and production nationally this year are each the highest ever recorded.
    Michael said Washington will supply about 20 percent of total U.S. production, second only to Idaho, which produces about 33 percent or 122 million cwt.
    Potatoes are Washington's top vegetable crop and the fifth largest agricultural commodity, behind apples, milk, cattle and calves and wheat.  The crop value of production in 1990 was approximately $33 million, which provides $1.5 billion value to the state's economy, said Michael.
    -0-                      11/12/91
    /CONTACT: Henry Michael of the Washington State Potato Commission, 509-765-8845; or David J. Jepsen of Evans Public Relations, 206-285-5522, for the Washington State Potato Commission/ CO:  Washington State Potato Commission; USDA ST:  Washington IN:  FOD SU: JH-LM -- SE006 -- 3708 11/12/91 19:34 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 12, 1991
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