Market report: Lower yields boost spud prices

New crop potato prices are almost £32/t higher than the same time last year, with lower than average yields boosting values.

The Potato Council’s weekly average GB price in the week-ending 23 July was £183.57/t – £31.77/t above the same week last year. The free-buy average was even higher, at £188.97/t – more than £80/t higher than in 2009.

Although early crop clearance to 24 July was 12% ahead of last year at 6501ha (16,057 acres), yields were 4.1t/ha (1.66t/acre) down, at 27.2t/ha (11t/acre). Total crop availability was therefore 3% below the same time last year, at 176,801t.

“With crops clearing rapidly this season, lower than average yields in earlies and the potential lack of follow-on crops, growers are becoming confident for a good market ahead,” said a Potato Council report. “Many feel that rather than ease over the next few weeks prices could in fact become firmer.”

Western regions were supplementing eastern supplies, where many crops were not yet ready to lift. Bulking remained slow due to the dry weather, and in some non-irrigated crops advanced senescence was resulting in very low yields. “Common scab is now a widespread problem with odd loads rejected.”

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