5 July 2002

Spud plantings fall

POTATO plantings are at their lowest level ever this year, according to the British Potato Councils first estimate.

Growers planted just 140,475ha (347,113 acres) – the lowest level on record – and 4.1% lower than last year, says the BPC.

But the organisations chief executive Helen Priestley still questions whether this fall in plantings will be enough to bring the UK market into equilibrium.

"Yields could be higher this year, if theres isnt any disease and bad weather."

The BPCs earlier planting intention survey suggested that 8% fewer spuds would be set in the ground this year.

Mrs Priestley hopes that growers have organised a buyer. "They just cant risk not having done so," she adds.

Early indications suggest that the European market could be oversupplied at 50m tonnes, 5m tonnes above last years level. &#42