Average GB potato prices increased for the second week in a row in the week to 22 August, gaining £2.91/t to £148.44/t.

The Potato Council’s free-buy average jumped by £7.87/t, to £99.18/t despite increased volumes traded. “The proportion of contract trade is marginally down on the previous week but continued to account for the majority of recorded movement,” said the report.

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In the packing sector, free-buy demand was generally limited and centred on good whites with high baker contents. Salads moved at £210-250/t for 42mm down Maris Peer, while some wholecrop returned £120/t.

The bagged market saw slightly better movement, particularly chipping samples into holiday areas before the long weekend. “In the East, Maris Piper were £100-130/t, Agria was £120/t and others mostly £80-110/t,” said the report. In the West, steady movement of Wilja was mainly at £80/t for ware.

Potato harvest was 3,000ha ahead of last year, with about 15,000ha lifted by 23 August. “Crops are in good condition and samples are generally bold,” said the report. “Yields although variable are mainly good.” However, there were a few issues including scab flecking, blackleg, black dot, hollow heart and pest damage. “There has been some bruising reported in high dry matter crops.”