Market report: Potato prices improving for growers

Potato markets continue to improve, with the Potato Council’s weekly average price rising by £1.16/t in the week ending 28 May to £128.16/t.

The free-market average also increased, by £1.67/t, to £103.07/t. “Continued export demand and the longer than expected maincrop trading season is managing to hold growers’ confidence,” said its latest report. “Buyers are securing block purchases of White varieties to cover supplies until well into July.”

Demand for bagged potatoes is steady, with limited supplies of chipping material available. “As a result prices at the top end of ranges continue to increase, although there is some resistance from buyers. Many are now tending to move towards lower-value material, of which there is sufficient stock to last until new crops are ready.”

Dry and previously cold weather has slowed bulking of new crops, with yields in the south averaging 15t/ha, compared with 20-30t/ha last year. “Many of the early processing crops in Herefordshire are making good progress, assisted by warmer weather and irrigation, but nevertheless are still around two weeks behind last year.”

Packing demand for new crop remains strong and, with growers struggling to maintain continuity of supply prices, remain firm at £650-£950/t, depending on location.