By FWi staff

POTATO growers are beginning to wonder whether their crops will ever see a summer, after yet another week of erratic weather conditions.

It has continued to delay bulking and disrupt lifting. The only positive outcome of the weather is that irrigators are having a break and hard, dry soils are softening.

The earlies market remains strong as demand continues to exceed supply. Orders are starting to increase and confidence is returning to the market.

In Jersey, total exports may reach 42,500t as the season rapidly draws to a close.

There is steady movement of bagged and crisping material from Cornwall.

Bags are mainly 70-80/t, up to 100/t for best. Harvester-graded Premiere are worth up to 120/t, but stocks are very light. Movement of Marfona and Charlotte is expected to start next week.

In Pembroke, prices are slightly stronger this week. Bagged and packing samples are worth 100/t ex-farm. Maris Peer, due to be lifted next week, are expected to fetch a higher price.

There was good volume movement in all sectors in the East last week.

Wholesale orders are fetching 100-120/t with Maris Bard and Dundrod for frying up to 180/t for best. Packing grades range from 120/t up to 150/t with wholecrop worth 200/t for best.

In the Midlands and Lincolnshire, there is good demand for packing and frying.

Wholesale market prices range from 110-120/t up to 140/t for graded tops. Packing samples are worth 120-140/t with frying Maris Bard and Premiere 110/t.

Last week saw the end of the 1999 weekly average price, as volumes of maincrop supplies are now significantly reduced.

The final average quotation was 86.73/t for the weekend ending 30 June.