Average GB potato prices fell by £11.51/t in the week to 5 October, although the free-market average bucked the trend, rising by £9.32/t to £271.04/t.
At £180.01/t, the Potato Council’s weekly average price was £74.10/t higher than it was at the same time last year. “With adverse weather continuing to restrict lifting and many growers now concentrating on loading into store, supplies remain short, with prices steady to firm,” said the council’s latest report.
In the packing market, Grade 1 King Edwards were fetching £340-370/t, with free-buy Maris Piper ranging from £260-350/t. Bagged supplies were severely restricted, resulting in some firmer prices as buyers competed for the limited stocks, said the report. Chipping Cabaret were selling for £240-£300/t in the East, with samples of Victoria priced at £285/t in Scotland.
Farmers had lifted more than 51,000ha by 5 October – 43% of the total crop. Last season 93,000ha – 73% of the crop – had been cleared by the same date. Yields were lower than normal, with high wastage from greens, growth cracks and rots associated with waterlogging.
Skin set was slow in many areas, with some concerns about the keeping quality of some samples.