British potato markets diverged last week, as high contract volumes reduced overall prices while tighter supplies, due to weather and storage, firmed the free market.
The Potato Council’s weekly average price fell by £4.24/t, to £136.64/t, while the free market average increased by £3.11, to £144.22/t. However, both levels were well above the same time last year, when prices were pegged at £97.43/t and £74.05/t, respectively.
As of 1 October, harvest was just 46% complete, well behind last year’s 60%, with wet weather delaying lifting in many parts of the country. Harvest in the south of England was two weeks behind normal, and yields and quality were proving variable, said the Council’s latest report.
“Buyers’ interest in the free market is currently centred on best wholecrop samples, particularly those with a high baker content. However, volume of purchases remains limited as most packers continue to move contracted material, which are generally lower in price. Meanwhile growers are concentrating on loading stores and, where possible, supplies are becoming shorter. As a result demand, for best stocks in particular, is strong, with price pressure more stable than in recent weeks.”