Potato harvest was 83% complete by 16 October – about a week ahead of last year, according to Potato Council.
Growers had lifted 108,000ha, despite dry conditions requiring some irrigation before lifting in the east to minimise bruising. Progress was good in the west following beneficial rain, and in Herefordshire harvest was almost finished, it said.
“Yields are above average in some regions, although there are wide variations, including lower-than -expected crops in the east. Lack of storage capacity has presented problems for some growers – surplus crops have been put in ambient stores for short-term movement, particularly as there is already some premature sprouting reported in the south.” In Scotland more growers were completing lifting in mostly good conditions, although there were some concerns over rots in a few stores.
With tighter supplies, the GB Weekly Average Price increased by £2.65/t to £103.71/t in the week to 16 October. The Free Market Average also rose, by £2.56, to £79.69/t, as buyers looked for good quality stocks.
“Packers continue to move mainly contracted material. This is leaving limited demand for free market stocks, although there is some interest, which is predominantly centred on bruise-free and quality skin finish stocks.”