The Potato Council’s GB weekly average prices have started the new season at £204/t – £65 higher than the same time last year.
The first free market average of the 2012 crop was pegged at £231/t – more than £125 higher than last year. “Due to the lateness of the 2012 season the volume of new-season crop in the sample is lower than at this time last year,” said the council’s latest report.
Harvest was well behind last year, with just 4,653ha cleared by 27 July, at an average yield of 25.4t/ha. That compared with 8,324ha at 34.9t/ha last year and 8,457ha at 29.2t/ha in 2010. “Crops vary both in quality and yield, which are in a wide range of 18-54t/ha,” said the report.
“Incidences of blight and blackleg are widely reported. In Scotland, growth cracking and greening could be an issue, with soil washed off and tubers developing near the surface.”
Most packing movement was on contract, with limited free-buy samples of Accord in Shropshire fetching £170/t. “There was steady demand for Herefordshire 35x42mm Maris Peer at £430/t.” Loading of chipping varieties was also under way, with some free-buy supplies of Accord, Premiere, Amora and Fambo priced at £140-150/t.