By FWi staff

JUST over 1000ha of land has been written off by growers as a result of extreme weather conditions, and most of this will not yield any potatoes, according to the British Potato Council.

And with only about 2200ha being harvested in the week to 08 December, buyers are starting to report difficulties securing supplies in many trading sectors.

“Growers are reluctant to sell and are hanging on to early lifted, sound quality crops and packers are increasingly looking to imports for supplies,” says the BPC.

Total clearance to 08 December stands at 123,654ha. This time last year harvesting had been completed. Imports of ware potatoes totalled 81,312t at the beginning of the month, compared with 11,310t in 1999.

In the south and Wales, bulk whites are averaging 160-180/t up to 190/t for best Desiree.

Bag sales are slow, with whites fetching 105-115/t, reds 100-150/t.

In the east and western regions, bulk whites are fetching between 120-225/t up to 230/t for best Maris Piper and Estima, and 250/t for quality Edward. Reds are worth 110-220/t up to 280/t for bold quality.

Bags are fetching 175/t for best Edward and 190/t for best Maris Piper. Reds are worth 95-140/t.

Prices have remained steady in Scotland with Edward mainly 140-150/t and best Desiree and Maris Piper worth 130/t.

In northern England best Maris Piper are fetching 150/t, Desiree 180/t, and other quality whites up to 200/t in parts of Yorkshire.

In bags, Maris Piper are mainly 85-95/t in Scotland and 90-140/t in northern England. Other whites are mostly 75-95.

The BPC weekly GB ex-farm average price increased again last week by 2.14 to 115.74/t, compared with 55.56/t last year.