Higher yields push potato production up 22%

Potato production in GB totalled 5.51m tonnes last year, according to an updated estimate by the Potato Council. That was more than previously forecast, due to higher yields than expected.

Yields averaged 45.2t/ha – 0.5t/ha more than previously estimated and 22% higher than in 2012.

“The planted area is still estimated at 122,000ha, up only marginally on last year and unchanged on the previous estimate made in November,” said the report.

Total production was therefore 23% greater than in 2012, but more than 500,000t down on the 2011 crop.

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“The estimates suggest that the industry has recovered from a very unusual growing season in 2012 where crop development was affected by cold, dull and wet conditions across GB.

The 2013 crop year appears to be a more ‘typical’ season with greater supplies, lower prices than last year (to date) and increased export opportunities.”

On-farm potato stocks at the end of November were 25% up on the previous year, at 3.3m tonnes, said the report.

“With a large proportion of the season still to come, the impact of stocks levels will depend on a number of factors, including net import levels, effective crop utilisation, the rate of consumption and the selling decisions of growers.”