By FWi staff

HEAVY rain and localised flooding have again hampered lifting over the weekend and restricted loading, but supplies are sufficient to meet requirements.

Warmer weather last week has helped growth of the maincrop, but bulking remains slow.

Most crops this season have suffered from localised rain, too little sun and below-average temperatures, reports the British Potato Council.

Yields remain varied, but overall show a reduction of about 5% on 1999. And with many growers allowing late planted crops to reach full maturity before burning off, the overall area prepared for storage by mid-September is estimated to be behind that of last year.

Total clearance at 15 September was 26,128ha. This compares with 26,222ha in 1999.

Prices continue to be under pressure for all but the best quality packing samples.

In East Anglia and Lincolnshire, set-skin samples are fetching between 175-230/t for Edwards, mostly 180-200/t.

Reds are worth from 125/t up to 200/t for best. Grade 2 samples are fetching 50-100/t. Bagged reds are fetching 95-120/t, whites mainly 70-120/t.

In the south and Wales, best white varieties are worth 100-140/t up to 160/t for best Maris Piper and Desiree.

Grade 2 samples are fetching 50-90/t, while bagged whites are mainly 60-125/t, reds 80-115/t.

Bulk samples in the Midlands are generally 120-160/t for set skins with high baker content.

Reds are worth 130-160/t and grade 2 samples 60-100/t. Bagged chipping varieties are mainly 70-110/t, up to 120/t for non-chippers.

In the north, bulk whites are worth 130/t for best, up to 180/t for high baker content. Bagged whites are 120/t for best up to 125/t for Maris piper.

The BPC weekly GB ex-farm average price fell 4.46/t last week to 113.74/t. This compares with 74.89/t last year.