By Farmers Weekly staff

POTATO growers are still paying sky-high prices for seed and could struggle to source their first-choice variety.

Prices have trebled over the year in some cases, after last autumns appalling weather, says John Anderson of the Scottish Agricultural College. This reflects both the seed problem and ware prices which averaged £189/t in the week to 19 February, more than double last years level.

“Overall, we are not desperately short of seed, we are very tight in some varieties, some at the critical top end of the market like Estima. The variety of your choice may not be there.”

But he warns against making false economies. “People may begrudge paying these prices but it may be imperative to get the skin finish. If you fail to get this, it can halve the value of the crop.”

Ron Reiss, of seed supplier Agrico, says he has also heard of the £500/t mark being hit. A lot, however, was traded earlier at £300 to £350/t. “The seed trade has not got rich on this.”