By FWi staff

MANY potatoes are on a fixed price, and current prices should remain firm as we enter the New Year, says Alistair Beacon of Anglian Produce.

And prices could firm even further. With the waterlogging and frost damage experienced in many areas, the potatoes will come out, but with little hope of the quality seen earlier in the season. “The fry colours will be particularly poor,” said Mr Beacon.

Wtih sharp frosts and adverse weather conditions in Northern Europe, this could push prices even higher than we have already seen.

But buyers have been showing resistance to the higher prices they have been paying this season, and many in the trade wonder how much longer they can last.

The temptation of delaying selling in the hope of a rapidly-rising market should be resisted, advises John Anderson of the Scottish Agricultural College. “If you all sit it out, you run the risk that prices could fall.”

Current demand means that samples that might have been thrown out in the past could now make £50-£100/t, says Mr Anderson. “If you can only sell 25% of what you lift after Christmas, it will still cover the cost of lifting and help offset the short supplies.”

Values will, says Mr Anderson, stay at high levels. But exactly where depends on how early next seasons planting begins and how strong buyer resistance is to the current prices “Its all still to play for.”