By FWi staff

POTATOES ended the year on a high note and sailed confidently into the new year with firm prices.

Values for quality material are continuing to increase, while most dealers report unchanged quotes for ordinary grades, said a spokesman from the British Potato Council.

Demand is strong for clean, bold packing samples as well as frying material. But orders for other produce failed to follow suit, said the BPC.

There has been a lack of potatoes coming forward as producers have been slow to return grading, said one trader. “But we expect to be up to speed next week,” he added.

Growers with good quality supplies remain slow to sell, and this has now increased the overall price gap from £60-£300/t. However, most material is going for between £140-£180/t.

Wet weather continues to delay lifting although some growers remain optimistic of salvaging the majority as soon as soils dry out.

Recent estimates predict that at least 7000ha remain unlifted, and total clearance currently stands at just over 133,000ha.