Potato prices jumped by £20.56/t in the week to 24 August, buoyed by strong demand and tight supplies as harvest continued to run about two weeks later than normal.
The Potato Council’s GB average price settled at £201.25/t, with the free-buy average rising by £21.45/t to £243.50/t. “Contracts made up the majority of the overall sample but the proportion of free-buy increased from the previous week,” said the council’s latest report.
So far, growers had only lifted about 13,000ha of potatoes, 11% of the total crop and 12,500ha less than in the same week last year. “Stages of growth vary with many crops senescing prematurely; some have been burnt off, while others in full growth, with potential, will be left as long as possible to grow on,” said the report. Foliage blight was widely reported, with other quality issues including hollow heart, blackleg, growth cracks, greening and slug damage. Yields were extremely variable but were well below average.
In the packing sector, buyers were supplementing contracted stocks with free-buy supplies, which were on the light side and moving at firm prices. “There was increased interest in bold white supplies, mainly Marfona, although more Estima and Harmony were becoming available.”