12 September 1997

Spuds stuck at £60/t mark

POTATO prices remain lodged around the £60/t mark, leaving growers groping for positive signs.

One of the few bullish factors is the suggestion that good quality samples could be in short supply later in the season, as blight takes its toll on "keepability". Such nervousness has been reflected in the paper market, says John Bull of BDF Commodities. April futures are worth about £120/t, almost twice the seasons low point.

But John Anderson of the Scottish Agricultural College says that, while there is always a market for top quality goods, he is not overly optimistic about prices. Although the area grown in GB is down about 7% at 142,500ha (352,100 acres), early signs are of reasonable yields. Among earlies, the typical increase was about 5t/ha (2t/acre). &#42