vegetable industry. The main justification for adding extra weight is that,
after harvest, the products lose weight in the form of moisture. New potatoes
are particularly susceptable to a loss of moisture. For this reason, 100-pound
bags in the Hastings area are customarily packed to weigh 103 pounds each. The
bag weighs about 0.6 pound, leaving 2.4 pounds of extra potatoes per bag. In
the Alabama area, 100-pound bags are packed slightly heavier.
In packing potatoes a larger percentage of extra potatoes is packed in
small than in large containers. This is necessary for two reasons. First,
since loss in weight is variablewith a given percent of extra weight, the
chance of being underweight is greater than with larger containers. Second,
as containers get smaller, one additional potato constitutes a larger percentage
of the total. This factor is especially important in the case of 10-pound bags.
In many crops of potatoes in the Southeast, a large portion weigh more than
one-half pound. This fact alone requires that the limit for 10's be set well
over 10 pounds. In practice, the scales are set at 11 pounds, or 110 pounds
per hundredweight. Allowing 1.4 pounds for the weight of the bags, this leaves
108.6 pounds as the net weight of the potatoes. Comparing this amount with the
102.4 net pounds in the 100-pound bags indicates that the extra weight of
potatoes in 10-pound bags is approximately 6.2 pounds per hundredweight.
Recent experience has shown that the value of potatoes at the shipping
point varies from 2 to 6 cents per pound. However, new potatoes are not
normally packed in 10-pound bags at the high price ranges. If one takes a
price of 3 cents, the value of the extra potatoes is 18.6 cents. However, the
value can be as low as 12.4 cents or as high as 37.2 cents.