Potato production is set to recover this year, despite a 0.5% decrease in plantings, according to the Potato Council’s first provisional estimate of the season.
It expected plantings to be at a record low (based on the past 10 years’ figures) of 121,200ha. However, a recovery to more normal yields, following last year’s appalling 36.9t/ha average, should boost production to 5.42m tonnes – 930,000t more than last year but still below the 10-year average.
“Actual yields for this year will depend on the weather and other factors for the rest of the growing season,” said the report. “The production estimate may change significantly over the course of the year as more information on planted area and yields is received.”
Crop growth was still two to three weeks behind normal, although tuber numbers and yields were close to average so far, it added. “Lifting volumes have increased in South Lincolnshire and Suffolk, where loading of salad types is now well under way.”
Supply and demand for bagged new crop was well balanced, with thin trade ranging from £320/t in Cornwall to £1,400/t in Scotland. Prices in the rest of England and Wales were pegged at about £500-600/t, with packing produce mostly on contract at £450-600/t.