By FWi staff

MANY potato producers have written off the coming seasons maincrop harvest following another week of drifting prices.

New crop values have also come under increased pressure with the major supermarkets reducing their early prices to 9p/Ib (£198/t).

Hot weather, lack of visitors in holiday regions, promotions of imported crop and 1998 maincrop by retailers, increasing volume of chippers, were all reasons given by the British Potato Council for the recent falls.

Digging of garden crops as well high transport costs and adequate stocks in hand were also listed as affecting the current market.

Values are expected to fall further this week as demand fails to absorb the increased lifting.

Values in Cornwall slipped to between £30-£52/t in bags over the week while in other parts of the country prices averaged about £40-£70/t for bags and £50-£70/t bulk.

Last seasons maincrop trade has almost dried up and a number of producers are disposing of stores rather than sell at current values, noted the BPC. ìProcessors and peelers are taking some material from £25-£75/t while at the other end limited washed Nadine continues to hold £240/t.î