Potato prices fall on the back of quiet demand

Potato prices dropped sharply in the week to 4 October, with the Potato Council’s weekly average price down by more than £16/t, to £137.98/t.

This was due to market factors and updated figures following an AHDB/Potato Council audit of price providers, which will continue over the next two weeks.

The free-buy average fell by almost £20/t, to £135.20/t.

“Packers continued to source free-buy stocks when required, although most movement remained on contract,” said the council’s report.

“Packing prices were unchanged on the whole, with the strongest demand for bold whites including Estima, Sylvana and Orchestra at £110-£150/t.”

Demand for bagged produce was quiet, but with growers concentrating on lifting into store, supply and demand were well balanced. “Interest centred on best-quality whites with good frying qualities.”

Harvest was about 4,000ha ahead of last year, with about 61,000ha of the GB crop cleared by 5 October, said the report. However, it was still about 31,000ha behind the same time in 2011.

In the East, many crops were still awaiting skin set with some crops only just burnt off. However, progress in the West was good.

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