16 October 1998

Piper &Estima grab 30% of national crop

BIG changes in potato variety choice have seen Maris Piper and Estima move even further into the lead, now accounting for 30% of the national crop. But competition for the minor places is intensifying, according to provisional data from the British Potato Council.

Among maincrops, Piper plantings soared 25%, putting the variety in one in three maincrop fields and one in five of all potato fields.

Second place Cara strengthened its position with a modest rise, while crisper Saturna added 8% to snatch third place from Pentland Dell.

The biggest loser of all varieties was Record, its area more than halving this year after a similar fall last year. It now languishes in fourteenth place with just 1386ha (3424 acres).

Amongst second earlies Estima maintained top slot. Second placed Nadine took a 17.5% larger share, but still accounts for less than half the area sown to Estima.

Biggest changes of all were in the first early sector. Maris Bard remained top, despite its area slipping by almost a fifth. Hot on its heels is Premiere, rocketing forward by 64% to leapfrog Pentland Javelin which slumped 28%.

CROPSTATS

&#8226 140,176ha total 0.2% below 97.

&#8226 1E area down 16.4%

&#8226 2E area up 8.9%

&#8226 Maincrop down 1.5%

Top spuds

Area (ha) % change on 1997

First early

M Bard 3905 -21.6

Premiere 2210 +63.9

Dundrod 971 -18

P Javelin 891 -28.3

Second early

Estima 14,606 -0.5

Nadine 6251 +17.5

Marfona 4924 -4.3

Wilja 3237 -6.2

M Peer 2561 +16

Maincrop

M Piper 27,027 +25.1

Cara 8523 +2.5

Saturna 6767 +8.0

P Dell 6528 -1.0

L Rosetta 5636 +17.0

Desiree 5270 +14.8