By FWi staff

AT last there are signs of better demand and more stability for the early potato crop.

Maincrop sales have dropped to well under 50% of last weeks mid season trading volumes as the switch over to new crop really kicks in.

In Jersey the total exported crop stands at 38,500 tonnes, marginally lower than the same time last year.

Growers are having a very poor end of season, which is blamed on the quota system restricting lifting earlier in the season.

In Cornwall there are encouraging signs of more interest in special varieties (Maris Peer, Nicola and Charlotte), but prices for harvester-graded material remains unchanged on last week.

Bagged trade last week (22 June) was mostly 45-60/t up to 80/t. Best frying material is worth 100-120/t for graded bold samples.

Demand for Pembroke potatoes has improved this week, with packing samples from 60-80/t and best bags fetching 100/t ex farm.

The situation in Kent is similar, with ex-farm frying Maris Bard fetching 120/t. Harvester-graded earlies range from 60-80/t and packing orders are steady at 100-120/t.

Trade in the east is slow, but activity is expected to improve this week.

Maris Bard and Pentland Javelin for packing have traded at 100-120/t and graded tops up to 160/t. Harvester-grade Maris Bard are fetching 140/t for best.

Wholecrop Maris Peer are mainly 160/t, exceptionally 240/t.

As maincrop supplies and sales start to dwindle traders have become very selective on remaining old crop material.

Most varieties are almost exhausted and packers are increasing offers for top material to keep supermarkets supplied.

Bulk grade 1 material is mostly 65-90/t. Top Piper are fetching 140/t up to 210/t in the east. Best Estima are worth 180/t, and best reds up to 120/t in Scotland.

Grade 2 material is mainly 20-50/t. Bagged Piper are mainly 80-125/t up to 190/t in the east for best. Other varieties are mainly 40-45/t.