Potato lifting progress continues to outpace last season, with about 18,000ha cleared by 30 August, according to the Potato Council’s latest report.

This was 3,000ha more than at the same time last year. “The wet weather was of benefit on light land, where lifting in dry conditions had caused some problems,” said the report.

The GB weekly average price fell by £5.36/t in the week to 29 August, to £139.97/t, while the free-buy average price rose by £2.29/t to £101.47/t.

GB potato plantings for 2014 totalled 121,900ha, according to the latest provisional estimate by the Potato Council. That is 2,000ha higher than its previous estimate, but still slightly below the 2013 area of 122,400ha.

Maris Piper remained the dominant variety, accounting for 16% of the planted area. “The varieties in the top five are unchanged from last year and account for 34% of total plantings in 2014,” said the report.

However, Maris Piper had seen a rebound following seven years of decline, with 6% more planted in 2014. Markies plantings had recovered to account for 6% of the total area, with Maris Peer down for the third year in a row, at just over 4%. Agria, Innovator and Melody had all moved up the rankings, while Saturna, Premiere, Maris Bard, Saxon and Accord had all lost favour.