Maris piper potatoes© Rex

Potato prices dropped by 2% in the week to 15 May, to a GB average of £134.64/t, with the free-buy average losing 1% to £97.65/t. 

In the packing sector, prices remained firm, with high-quality Estima steady at £170/t, said the latest Potato Council report. Desiree supplies were limited, leading some packers to relax their specification to maintain supplies, with all grades making £200/t.

Bagged general ware and frying markets varied in trend, with short supplied Maris Piper gaining £20/t on the previous week to £160/t for the best quality, while lower qualities remained steady at £65/t.

Sagitta rose to £130/t but Wilja was slow to move with poorer-quality lots falling to £50/t.

Old crop stores remained in good condition, although some skin finish problems were causing saleability issues, with packers focused on moving contracted stock.

Planting for the 2015 crop was nearing completion, and crops were beginning to emerge, although they could benefit from warmer temperatures, said the report.

Early varieties had started to be lifted, and harvest was expected to increase in the coming weeks.

Prices were difficult to establish for Cornish new crop as supplies were limited, but small volumes were lifted in Pembrokeshire, Cheshire and Anglesey for local sales, said the report.