Potato stocks drop in 2012

November ending stocks of potatoes were down nearly a fifth on the previous year, according to a Potato Council report.

Stocks for November 2012 were estimated to end at 2.7m tonnes, compared with 3.3m tonnes at the same time in 2011, and 3.2m tonnes in 2010. This equates to a drop of 18%.

GB potato production was estimated at 4.64m tonnes in December 2012, a fall of 24% on 2011.

“With stocks reducing by only 18%, it would suggest that the market is reacting to the lower supply anticipated this season,” said the report.

High prices and tight supply mean that potatoes that in previous years would have been graded out are being used this season. As a result, there is expected to be lower packing and processing waste. This is due to high prices and tight supply.

Import levels are much higher than in previous years, and during June to November 2012, fresh potato imports were up 250% on the same period in 2011.

Last week, the free-buy average for potatoes was £309/t, with the overall average at £240/t.

Much of last week’s market interest focused on best quality whites, with high baker contents moving at firm prices, according to the Potato Council.


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