Excess supply hits potato prices

Potato growers should examine the market carefully before planting large acreages this spring, as they tisk oversupplying the market and depressing prices.

Last season’s poor prices came about as a direct result of over-supply, latest figures from the Potato Council show.

As a result of a number of factors, total potato production in 2009 increased by 4.2% with the effect that prices per tonne fell by approximately 13%.

The organisation is urging growers to carefully consider market conditions before embarking on the spring planting campaign.

“Difficult trading conditions in 2009/10 were exacerbated by over-supply. Speculative plantings, alongside very good growing conditions that produced high yields, resulted in prices that were often substantially below costs of production,” said the council’s Dr Rob Clayton.

“Persistent rumours that everyone is cutting back may encourage growers to plant potatoes speculatively again this year.

“The danger is that without discipline and a thorough understanding of the market, we could see another year of low prices which could have ruinous consequences for some growers.”

As an aid to making decisions about plantings, the BPC collates and assesses market data to give farmers a long-term view. Price and area trend analysis is available from http://www.potato.org.uk/

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