By FWi staff

SOME potato growers have resorted to lifting by hand as they refuse to give up on the atrocious conditions, reports the British Potato Council.

“Growers have overcome difficult weather conditions in the past, but few have encountered the land as bad as this winter – and they still wont give in,” says the BPC.

Total clearance is estimated at 124,735ha, 86% of the total planted area, and much of the 20,000ha that remains in the ground will probably be overwintered.

The last time a substantial crop was unharvested by Christmas was in 1998, but that was about 9000ha. This time last year lifting was completed.

In the marketplace, there was increased movement from store last week, particularly of recently lifted crops.

Prices for top-quality samples saw small increases, but were slightly weaker for mid range samples, and stabilised for lower-grade quality.

In the south and Wales quality samples are hard to find, reports the BPC.

Bulk whites are mainly 160-180/t up to 190/t for best Desiree. Bagged whites are fetching 85-135/t, reds 100-150/t. Eastern and western regions have reported good movement this week. Bulk whites are averaging 110-225/t up to 280/t for best Edward and Cara.

Reds are mainly 110-220/t up to 280/t for bold samples. Bags are mainly 130-160/t up to 175/t for best Edward and 190/t for Maris Piper. Reds are fetching 90-140/t.

In the north and Scotland movement has been adequate for Christmas.

Bulk Edward are worth up to 200/t in Scotland, 220/t in northern England. Best Maris Piper are fetching 120/t and 180/t respectively. Bagged Piper are worth 85-100/t in Scotland, 95-140/t in the north.

The BPC weekly GB ex-farm average price gained 2 on the week to 117.74/t compared with 58.30/t last year.