Potato prices have jumped by more than £11/t over the past week, buoyed by the poor planting conditions and onset of new crop sales.
The Potato Council’s weekly average price increased by £11.53/t in the week to 4 May, to £125.84/t ex-farm, while the free-buy average rose by £5.40 to £91.73/t. “Packing demand for the Cornish new crop is slowly increasing, but adverse weather conditions are restricting lifting, with Lady Christl and Rocket moving at £600-800/t at the end of last week,” said the council’s report. Bagged prices ranged from £550-700/t.
Demand for best quality old crop supplies had improved a little, with some purchasers stocking up for the bank holiday weekend. “Overall the trade is steady, but with poor weather conditions and planting delays, there is a positive outlook for the remaining stored crop.”
Total plantings to 4 May were estimated at 76,080ha, compared with 118,800ha last year and 115,000ha in 2010. “Some growers have been delayed by three weeks. There are incidences of flooded crops and the cold wet conditions have inhibited growth.” Lifting was very restricted, but yields in Cornwall last week were estimated at 12.5-15t/ha, with those in Cheshire and Pembrokeshire at 10t/ha.