EU-5 spud production 15% down?

Potato harvest in the five leading EU potato producing countries is likely to be 14.5% down on last season, according to the latest information from the Potato Council.

“Potato production has faced tough challenges so far this season, both in Britain and across Europe,” it said.

“Extreme weather conditions have been commonplace, with variable yields, sizes, quality and availability among the resulting key concerns experienced this year.”

Plantings across Belgium, France, Germany, Britain and Holland were 5% down, year-on-year, with an estimated 9.2% drop in yield compounding the drop in production, it added.

“This may well result in less free-buy being available, particularly as export demand is strong.”

Many of the North Western European Potato Growers (NPEG) members had reported significant yield differences between early and late planted crops, with smaller tubers and high dry matters expected this season.

Germany had not suffered as badly as other countries, and yields were likely to be close to average following a favourable growing season, said the report.

“France and Belgium have suffered similar planting challenges to Britain, with cold wet weather in spring; a wet July and dry, hard conditions now – later planted crops are suffering a 10-13t/ha penalty.

“However, tuber numbers are high, showing good overall quality, although there are reports of greens, misshapen or cracked tubers and high dry matter.”

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