By FWi staff

WET weather and difficult soil conditions have continued to hinder maincrop harvesting.

But despite the rain producers have lifted enough produce to meet market requirements, according to the British Potato Council.

“Growers are puzzled whether to get harvesters out each morning or keep them in the dry as rain, heavy at times, continued this week, noted the BPC in its weekly report.

Storage of the potato harvest has increased although heavily soiled wet material could lead to lower keeping quality.

Grade 1 Piper and Edwards with clean skins and high baker content have risen to £110/t, while the majority is selling between £55-£75/t.

Grade 2 material is starting from £20/t, although the majority is at £25-£50/t.

Maris Piper continues to be the favourite in the bag sector at £45-£70/t, with best samples at £100/t. Other trade is averaging £35-£65/t.

The BPC believes the distortion of the average price has come from a large number of producers moving little at the lower end of the price range.

At the same time, a few growers have been moving large tonnages at higher prices.

“This would therefore appear to confuse the national market, while the true picture is that the overall price is being buoyed by the quality packing sector and contracted processing element.”

The BPC weekly GB ex-farm price fell again over the week dropping £4.95 to £68.52/t. This compares with £114.34/t last year and £64.60/t in 1997.