By FWi staff

POTATO stocks at the end of February were similar to last year, according to the British Potato Council. But levels on-farm wastage were up on last year and have pushed potato prices higher.

Total potato stocks totalled 2.516 million tonnes, compared with 2.528m tonnes in February 1997. On-farm wastage, however, is currently averaging 18%, almost a quarter higher than this time last year, when wastage was 14.5%.

As a result, potato prices have climbed. In the last week of September, prices this season were £62/ tonne, compared with £58 for the previous crop. End-of-Febrary crops were selling for £82/ tonne compared with £58/ tonne a year ago.

BPC figures claim purchases in the first two months of this year were 6.5% higher than the same period last season.

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