Potato prices rose for the second week running, with the Potato Council’s GB free-buy average, up by £1.50/t to £143.81/t and the weekly average rising £4.99/t to £159.87t.

Prices are still far lower than the same point last year, with the free-buy average down £106 and the weekly average down £229.

In the packing market, the most movement was in contracted supplies and limited free-buy interest focused on best whites, but plentiful lower quality stocks were putting pressure on prices, the report said.

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Demand was steady for grade one Maris Piper stocks which sold at £180-205/t, while Estima sold at £140-160/t. A good supply of whites put pressure on prices, with grade one stocks making £130-160/t.

In the bagging market, availability varied by region but total supplies were more than enough for slow demand, the report said.

Chipping supplies in the East were plentiful and mostly sold for £140-190/t, with some top Maris Piper selling for £200/t and Agria for £210/t. In the West, Maris Piper and Markies dominated the trade, mainly selling between £130/t and £140/t.

The Potato Council estimated about 26,000ha of GB crop was planted to 5 April, compared with only 7,000 ha at the same time last year but 48,000ha in 2012.

Stocks of the 2013 crop in store continue to keep in good condition, but there were some cases of seasonal deterioration, with silver scurf a problem.