3 April 1998

Crisping spuds wont be stored this year

UNCERTAINTY and difficulties in disposing of last seasons contracted crisping potatoes mean none of this years crop from The Homme will be stored.

"We are going completely away from storing," says arable manager Steven Mackintosh. The risk of not covering the extra costs of grading in and out of store as well as the estimated £20/t fixed costs is simply too great, he explains.

All 1100t of Rosetta destined for Walkers Crisps will be lifted green top. Last year he grew and stored 5500t.

Like many growers he is disillusioned by the level of rejected loads and ever-increasing demands to raise standards.

"We are currently selling out of store at less than the contracted price."

Planting of this seasons 180ha (445 acres) began on Feb 25 with 35ha (86 acres) of Dundrod and Pentland Javelin. Also scheduled are small areas of early Marfona for baking, Maris Peer and Carlingford for the salad market, the balance being maincrop Estima, Nadine and Maris Piper.

Problems shifting stored crisping spuds this year mean Ross-on-Wye grower Steven Mackintosh will only grow crispers on green top crops this year. High grade bakers like these Estima offer a far better prospect.