Potato prices have eased slightly during the past week, with the Potato Council’s GB free-buy average losing £2.13/t to £140.31/t, almost £178 lower than at the same time last year. The weekly average dropped by 40p to £153.62/t, a fall of £95/t compared with a year ago.

“Packers continued to concentrate on moving contracted and committed stocks, with only limited demand for free-buy, which tended to centre on better-quality lots with good baker content,” said the report. Baking 65mm+ Estima were fetching £150-£170/t depending on skin finish.

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In the bag market, land work priorities had relieved the pressure to load, although the available supplies were adequate for the slow, selective demand, with price ranges generally unchanged. Chipping supplies in the East started at £120/t, with better-quality lots at £150-£200/t. In the West, Wilja for ware was priced from £110/t upwards, with the very best at £140/t, said the report.

Export demand was very slow to the Canary Islands, with King Edwards loaded in 25kg bags at £90-£120/t and both Markies and Agria destined for the chip trade at £180/t.

New-crop plantings were progressing well in the South and West, and with soil temperatures relatively high, crops were expected to establish quickly.