By FWi staff

LOW yields and a smaller planted area have helped push early potato returns to their highest level for more than three years.

Farmers who grew early potatoes this season increased their gross returns by almost 2000/ha on last year, according to figures released today (Monday).

The early season has now finished and this years gross returns averaged 4365/ha, say officials at the British Potato Council.

Average crops yielded 3.9 t less than last year at 28.8 t/ha. A smaller planted area also contributed to better returns and prices rose to 151.60/ tonne.

Complete data for the early season to Friday 31 July is as follows:

Cumulative totals
(all regions)
Area cleared (ha)10917.711026.111165.413874.6
Yield (t/ha)28.832.727.425.5
Tonnes moved314378360293305450353932
Average price (/t)151.6073.5097.42156.37
Gross return (/ha)4365240226653989
Source: British Potato Council