By FWi Staff

DEALERS have been discussing cuts of up to £10/t in the bag sector despite short supplies as producers prepare for storage, reported the British Potato Council last week.

However, growers are still confident for the season ahead, and prices held similar to last week in many sectors. Poor loose-skin material has started at £50/t, while most deals are between £90-£140. Best bold samples can reach £180-£200.

“Farmers are behind lifting compared with 1997,” said one trader. “This is a result of the late planting caused by the bad weather experienced earlier this year. Many crops have only just been desiccated and producers are now waiting for skins to set. However, many growers are loading to orders and demand continues to be good.”

Bulk set-skin material is increasing in volume to meet the strong interest in this sector from the packers. Grade one whites are £120-£160, but can achieve £190 for best samples. Piper are £140-£190 and reds fetch as much as £200/t.

Grade two start at £70, but average £90-£120. Frying Piper are back slightly at £100-£140 and reds £120-£150 with an odd £170 for Cara. Salad varieties are mainly £180-£230, with washed samples between £150 and £180.

Futures markets rose sharply at the start of last week on the back of reports of flooding on the Continent, but eased back to finish at £150/t in London and £90/t in Amsterdam by Thursday.

The British Potato Council weekly Great Britain ex-farm average price eased again last week by £5.90 to £122.49/t. This compared with £61.74 in 1997 and £58.35 in 1996. When all processing purchases are excluded the ware average fell to £132.80 compared with £54.61 in 1997.