By FWi staff

MAINCROP potato prices continue to make gains as supplies become shorter, reports the British Potato Council.

“Best packing material and frying stocks are getting particularly tight, which is where the biggest rises are,” says the BPCs Rob Burrow.

“But resistance from buyers, under pressure from customers, is suppressing increases in some sectors.”

Imports still continue to arrive in a sizeable weekly volume, particularly for processing and packing, adds Mr Burrow.

Latest BPC estimates put imports at 308,000t, 10 times the amount brought in by the same time in 2000.

Best baking material is up to 340-380/t, and very best Estima and Edward are over 300/t. Average-grade material is also increasing, averaging 150-220/t and freshly harvested material is attracting new interest for peeling from 60/t.

The BPC weekly average price rose 6.93 on the week to 154.08/t, excluding bags. This compares with 59.07/t a year ago.

Despite the catchy weather, growers are making planting progress with latest estimates put at 23,700ha, compared with 61,000ha last year.

This week saw the first token lifting from the 2001 early crop in Cornwall, reports the BPC.

“A few tonnes of Premiere from polythene were lifted, at an estimated yield of 7t/ha, and were making 1.21-1.32/k (55-60p/kg) to local buyers,” adds Mr Burrow.

Farm e-Business Survey. Click here to enter and win 100 Amazon vouchers