By FWi staff

THE potato market has steadied over the past week, and land work progressed well during some of the best weather seen this year.

Following a short period of weakness, values inched up over the week as a supply shortage in the quality packing and frying sectors boosted prices.

But abundant supplies overall are reported by traders at present, said a spokesman from the British Potato Council. Average and lower-grade are under-performing on price, he said.

“All this means a slow trade at present, and a continuation of the wide price ranges seen all season, at present between £80-£320/t.”

Quality bulk material is in short supply and samples are trading from £180/t, with most in excess of £200/t. Best Cara, Estima and Piper can fetch in excess of £300/t.

An increase in grade 2 supplies has led to values easing, with poor samples at £80-£100/t. Most value-pack are £120-£180/t.

Bag sales start at £120/t for poor-quality samples, with most between £140-£190/t. Best Piper and reds are as high as £260/t.

Spot processing purchases are restricted, with poor material slipping further at £80-£100/t. Chipping samples are fetching up to £150/t and Piper £170/t.

The BPC weekly GB ex-farm average price fell £1.86 to £178.05/t. This compares with £86.35/t last year and £56.48/t in 1997. The ware average failed to hold its value, dropping £3.57 to £185.67/t.

In London, the April futures remained firm at £300/t, but April eased in Amsterdam on Friday to £215/t.