Potato prices firm despite slow demand

Potato prices jumped again last week, with the Potato Council’s GB average up by £22.92/t in the week to 31 May, to £300.28/t. The free-buy average rose by £18.30/t, to £388.69/t, with contract trade making up most of the sample.

“With supplies of packing whites looking as though they will be needed for longer this season with the new crop slow to develop, ex-farm prices remain firm, set against a slow demand,” said the council’s report. Grade one Desirees were fetching £350-420/t, with King Edwards at £400-430/t and value pack whites at £200-290/t.

Token lifting of the 2013 crop had started in the West for farmgate sales or to local retail outlets. In Wales, Minerva were fetching £1,300/t in 25kg bags, with Rocket in Cheshire pegged at £1,800-2,400/t. “In Cornwall, lifting increased but demand was disappointing, with prices ranging from £800-1,120/t.” Loading to main packers, on contract, was expected to start imminently.

Planting of new crop in the East was mostly completed, but with dull and cool conditions growth was slow, and growers said the crop was about three weeks behind normal. In Scotland, temperatures have improved somewhat and planting is almost complete apart from a small area for seed.

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