12-5 IAN Examining spuds
A new University of Idaho economic study shows the cost of raising Idaho potatoes held relatively flat in 2013. UI Extension Economist Paul Patterson told me that he figures southwestern Idaho growers invested $6.79 per hundredweight, down 1.3 percent from 2012. Southeast Idaho growers saw a 0.3 percent decrease, with a $6.52 production cost, and Southcentral Idaho growers invested $6.74, up 0.7 percent. Those figures do not represent huge changes. Patterson also told me that the price of Potato seeds and fertilizers went down from last year and that unanticipated softer corn market will drive nitrogen prices down even further. In terms of what went up? Water costs went up in a number of the irrigation districts, the canal companies, probably the significant increase was the increased cost of power where hydropower is a major source of how they generate power. We have not had a good water year and therefore they have been raising the rates to compensate for the fact that they have to buy thermal power out on the grid to make sure that they have an adequate power base to serve their customers. So that fuel cost words mixed, up in some areas down another's, machinery repair costs were up primarily driven by higher costs associated with equipment. Equipment costs keep steadily increasing and therefore parts that go into them go up.