14 September 2001
Getting the balance right on spuds

PRIESTLEY PRODUCES Dean Hardy says main-crop Maris Piper are likely to be 10% down in yield.

“Farmers face the dilemma of whether to burn them off now when they are not full size or wait a while but then they may have trouble getting them off the field.”

He says farmers are anxious not to repeat last years harvest, which was very late.

“After the late planting, things have been behind by two weeks, which wont be caught up when the crops are burnt off at the usual time.”

“The growing season has been very varied, with wet and then dry conditions.

As a result there is more scab affecting about 40-50% of the Maris Piper crop.” He is not too concerned and lifting conditions are good.

More concerning is the state of the market. “The trade is under pressure with supply outstripping demand.”

This is problem has been carried through from earlies and second earlies.

“Some Maris Bard which is still in the ground or just has just been harvested is yielding 20t/acre, when it should have been lifted in June at 5t/acre. These are reaching 40/t in bags.”

“Hopefully it should calm down in two weeks time when a lot of farmers start storing and there is less on the market.

“Farmers are in the three-week gap between burning off, skins setting and then harvesting.”

“The main problem with the Maris Piper is the size of samples, which is a concern for chipping uses.

“The tuber numbers are there but not the size.” Not much has entered store yet.


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