This section is from the book "The Potato: A Compilation of Information from Every Available Source", by Eugene H. Grubb, W. S. Guilford. Also available from Amazon: The Potato: A Compilation Of Information From Every Available Source.
This confirms what I have already recognized in regard to other crops - that is to say, that manure in moderate doses and with complementary fertilizers is more advantageous than a heavy fertilization of manure alone. The doses of phosphoric acid and potash should be increased in poor soils and diminished in rich soils. They should be buried before sowing. As to the manure, it should be turned under before the winter, if possible. Nitrate of soda should be spread at the time of harrowing.'
This writer states that upon reduced surfaces he has obtained 550 quintals (5.5 tons) of potatoes per hectare (2.47 acres). The maximum yield observed upon a larger scale and upon surfaces of from 7 to 16 hectares (17.29 to 39.52 acres) was 410 quintals (4.1 tons). He considered a satisfactory yield, with proper cultivation, to be about 300 quintals (3 tons) per hectare (2.47 acres.)
It is rather doubtful whether American potatoes can be sold profitably in Europe, or, at all events, in Germany, in spite of some rather optimistic discussion of the subject. Wholesale buyers can procure German potatoes to-day (December 22, 1910) at $2 per 220 pounds for the 'egg' variety, and $1.52 per 220 pounds for the 'Magnum Bonum' variety.
(Prices on June 28, 1911, date of copy of this report, as follows: Egg potatoes sold out. At present 'long spring potatoes' are on sale and are worth $2.38 to $2.62 per 220 pounds. 'Magnum Bonum' scarce at present and worth $2.09 per 220 pounds. - R. P. S).
In order to sell American potatoes in Germany, it would be necessary to lay them down in New York at not more than the above figures, less the freight to Hamburg, for which my only quotation is 20 shillings ($4.8665) per ton. It costs only 16 shillings ($3.8928) per ton to ship German potatoes to America, and perhaps if American ships were available it would not cost 20 shillings to ship American potatoes to Germany, or Europe. From August 1st to February 14th foreign potatoes are admitted free into Germany, but at other times there is an import duty of 60 cents per 220 pounds.
American potatoes offered for export to Germany, apparently, would not bring more, f.o.b. New York, than 28 cents per bushel of 60 pounds for the ' Magnum Bonum' and 41 cents for the ' egg' variety. The calculation stands as follows:
Price per 220 pounds in Hamburg
Less freight from New York to Hamburg (48 cents)........
Net price in New York, converting price per 220 pounds into bushels of 60
With these figures before them, American correspondents can determine for themselves whether it will be possible to pay freight rates from farm to seaboard, and compete with the prices named. Statistics follow:
Total importations into Germany:
Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus.. .
European Russia ...........................................
Total exportations from Germany:
To France ..................
United States of America...
Production in Germany.
1909 - 46,706,252 tons 1908 - 46,342,726 tons
1907 - 45,538,299 " 1906 - 42,936,702 "
1905 - 48,323,353 tons.
Average wholesale prices in Germany: Cash for prompt delivery. (Per 1000 kilos, 2,200 pounds, exclusive bags):
Good Early Red Unassorted distilling
Good Early Red Sound assorted table
Good sound Silesian table potatoes
The market situation in France is given in a report by Consul-General Frank H. Mason of Paris under date of January 27, 1911:
The shortage in the French potato crop has created a deficit which is being filled by large importations from other European countries, notably Great Britain, Austria, Germany, and Belgium.
Importations of potatoes from the United States to France had been prohibited since the decree of 1875, which was inspired by fear of the Colorado potato bug, until that decree was annulled on October 15, 1910, opening the French markets to potatoes from the United States, provided they are clean, free from the soil in which they were grown, and the packages in which they are shipped contain no stems or leaves of the potato plant.
As a result of this long prohibition American potatoes are practically unknown in France, and French importers have no acquaintance or established relations with American exporters which would enable the trade to be promptly taken up since the withdrawal of the prohibitory decree. Partly for this reason, and partly because many French people have still a lingering dread of some possible disease in American potatoes and do not even know that the prohibition against them has been withdrawn, they have not yet appeared in any appreciable quantity on the Paris market.
Meanwhile several letters have been received at this consulate from American shippers who are prepared to offer potatoes to French importers. A careful investigation of the situation has been made, and the names of American exporters given to leading French commission merchants and dealers in potatoes, who have been thus enabled to send direct propositions to the parties who are seeking a market for American potatoes in France.
The principal mart of the wholesale potato trade in Paris is at the great Central Markets (Les Halles) and the busy streets in their immediate neighborhood. The one recognized wholesale unit or weight or measure for potatoes is the metric quintal of 100 kilos, equal to 220 pounds avoirdupois, and American merchants seeking to find a market here should base their propositions on that unit instead of bushels, bags, or barrels.
From the statements obtained by personal inquiry among the leading merchants in that line it appears that potatoes are now being delivered in wholesale quantities at 12 to 20 francs per 100 kilos ($2.31 to $3.86 per 220 pounds), according to quality. One firm pays as high as 22 francs ($4.24) for potatoes of the highest class, but this is exceptional and supplies only special and limited demands.
The ruling price for imported potatoes of good average quality is about 15 francs ($2.89) per 100 kilos, which would be approximately 82 cents per bushel of 60 pounds. The same potatoes are retailed in the groceries and provision stores throughout the city for about 5 to 6 cents per kilo ($1.33 to $1.60 per bushel). Genuine red-skinned potatoes are preferred here, with the white next, and yellow lowest in order of preference.