By FWi staff

OVERALL prices continued to strengthen last week in response to tighter supplies of quality potatoes and increasing wastage levels, a result of the delayed harvest, reports the British Potato Council.

For the third consecutive week, the BPC weekly GB ex-farm average price rose, up 4.06 on the week, to 100.16/t excluding bags. This compares with a falling 59.99/t a year ago.

More progress is being made in the fields and the BPC estimates that clearance is now 75% complete in England, some 114,684ha. This compares with 145,420ha in 1999.

However, reports are emerging of a disappointing-quality crop now being lifted, especially on heavier soils.

“Greening and exposed tubers are visible where ridges have been washed down,” says Peter Cooper of independent analyst Potato Call.

“And harvester and stone damage is becoming unavoidable where lifting is taking place.

“Slug damage is also becoming severe on some crops of Cara – so bad in some cases that the crop may not be viable to lift, even if the weather does improve.”

In East Anglia and Lincolnshire bulk whites are mainly 100-160/t, up to 195/t for best Edward. Reds are fetching 130-150/t, grade 2 samples from 45-90/t.

Bagged reds are worth 95-140/t, up to 170/t for best Edward and Maris Piper.

Bulk whites in the south and Wales are worth 100-150/t, up to 160/t for Desiree. Bagged whites are mostly 90-110/t, reds 90-140/t.

In the Midlands bulk whites are fetching 130-180/t, reds 80-150/t. Grade 2 samples are mainly 85-120/t, bags 70-100/t, up to 130/t for best Maris Piper.

Prices in the north are slightly easier with bulk whites mainly 70-100/t up to 160/t for best bold samples.

Reds are fetching 90-130/t. Bagged whites are worth 70-90/t up to 130/t for best Maris Piper.

In Scotland top prices are for bulk Edward at 140/t, with most whites fetching 80-110/t. Bagged whites are mainly 75-90/t, up to 120/t for Nadine and 150/t for Kerrs Pink.