14 September 2001
Harvest 2001: Supply tops demand

By Tom Allen-Stevens

As the potato harvest continues, more reports of lower than normal yields are coming in, which may be down to late plantings.

Priestley Produces Dean Hardy told FARMERS WEEKLY main crop Maris Piper is likely to be 10% down in yield.

“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.”

He is concerned at the state of the market, where supply is outstripping demand. This is having an effect on second earlies.

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

Bill Legge in the Fens hopes the market will recover as the harvest progresses: Hopefully the lower yields will translate into a higher price.”

His yields are down by about 20%, but he believes theres more to it than late plantings: The soil structure must have been damaged last winter.

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