By FWi staff

GOOD weather over the Easter break meant that many producers were able to commence with land work, salvaging old crop still in the ground and planting new.

With more activity on the land some of the pressure has been taken off the markets and prices are becoming more stable, noted a spokesman from the British Potato Council.

“Nevertheless sales remain slow and there are reports of increased interest for foreign new material, particularly for foreign new material” he added.

Bulk sales remain steady this week with Grade 1 samples starting at £180/t with the majority selling between £200-£250/t. Best packing reds can reach as high as £280/t with top Estima, Cara and Piper at £300/t.

Grade 2 material remains plentiful with the majority of value pack selling between £120-£170/t.

Bag trade for Piper is steady this week with interest for chipping still dominating from £140/t and most £160-£190/t, notes the BPC. Top red material is even making £250-£280/t.

Chipping samples vary between £100-£160/t with some Piper at £170/t. Crispers start from £100/t with the majority trading between £115-£150/t and a few ex farm quotes have reached £160/t.

The BPC weekly ex-farm average has stabilised slightly following its recent declines with prices easing just 9p at £174.19/t. This compares with £88.48/t last year and £55.85 in 1997. The ware average slipped 31p at £181.20/t.

April 1999 futures dropped almost £20 over the week to close at 280/t in London by the end of last week.