Potato prices continue to slide

Potato prices have dropped for the third week running, with slow demand for ample new crop supplies.

The Potato Council’s weekly average price fell by almost £7 in the week to 17 June, to £166.57/t – still well above last year’s equivalent of £148.26/t. The free market average weakened by nearly £9, to £166.03/t, compared with £121.99/t at the same time last year.

In the packing sector, most supplies are on contract, and both volume and demand are light, says the council’s latest report. However, as supermarkets increase shelf space for home-grown samples, interest is slowly improving. “Ware demand is disappointing, with adequate supplies on offer.”

By 17 June, farmers had moved 20,889t of new potatoes, with an average yield of 18.8t/ha. That compares with 14,311t in the same week last year, and 20,301t in 2009. However, imports are also considerably higher than last year, at 47,000t in April, compared with 37,500t in April 2010. Cumulative imports from July to April are 168,000t, against 153,500t last season.

Interest in old crop supplies is dwindling as buyers move over to new crop. “Demand is more selective, with top-quality samples showing a slight improvement as best stocks clear. Much on offer is general pack quality and in excess of demand.”


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