Potato area drops to lowest since 1960

GB potato growers planted 119,900ha this season, a drop in area of 2.1%, according to a provisional estimate by the Potato Council.

That is the lowest area since at least 1960 and, with an average yield of 44.9t/ha, would produce a crop of 5.39m tonnes – 330,000t down on last year but 900,000t more than in 2012.

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Plantings across the main northwestern European potato growing countries were generally up on the year, with crop development ahead of schedule, said the report.

Belgian plantings may have reached a 30-year high, with the German area potentially the largest since 2011, and French plantings up by 3.6%.

Although the EU’s own Mars crop monitoring service had lowered its EU28 yield estimate, from 32.25t/ha to 31.97t/ha – this was still above the five-year average of 30.69t/ha.

Eurex April-15 processing potato futures reached a high of €13.30/100kg on 19 June – a sharp jump from the €10.50/100kg set on 27 May. However, they have since drifted again, to €11.10 as Farmers Weekly went to press.

Domestic old crop values continued to decline, with the GB weekly average price falling by £9.64/t in the week to 27 June, to £146.05/t.

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