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Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1959. Department of Agricultural Economics.


Copyright 1959, the author. Used by permission.


A time-series analysis of potato prices will be introduced in this study. Potatoes are the leading vegetable in the United States from the viewpoint of annual production. Compared with the other table food plants, potatoes ranks second only to wheat. Almost 81% of the potatoes produced are used for food consumption, 5% of the crop are used for seed and the remaining 14% of the crop, which are the surplus consisting mostly of poor grade potatoes, go for non-food uses, such as livestock feed and industrial products, starch and alcohol.

At the same time potatoes are one of the most widely grown crops in the United States. They are grown in every state and harvested during every month of the year in some sections of the country. During recent years, there has been a tendency toward more specialization in potato production. The total acreage trended downward but the yields per acre have increased rapidly. Production of potatoes is becoming concentrated in the high-yielding areas and on large commercial farms. This high specializing and commercializing tendency makes potato price analysis more important.

Potato price analysis in this study is centered on Chicago and St. Louis, the two big wholesale markets of midwest potatoes, and is devoted largely to the late crop. Since the data we have cover a period of only seven years, the study will be emphasized with respect to short-time price analysis, i.e., annual and short-term cyclic price fluctuations and seasonal price variations.

The main objectives of this study are three, listed in the following:

  1. To find out the effects of changes in late crop production, intermediate crop prices, and their pertinent factors on the late crop prices, i.e., to make a potato price structure analysis.

  2. To verify the hypothesis that markets adjust potato prices toward equilibrium levels,

    i.e., seasonal average level, - if price starts out too high or too low, that means the price is out of line and will adjust itself toward the seasonal average.

  3. To indicate the predictive value of certain measurable market phenomena on late potato crop prices.

Advisor: Clarence J. Miller