Early potatoes at a six-year low

By FWi staff

EARLY potato prices have fallen to their lowest levels since mid-June 1993, plummeting over £90/t in the week. At the same time end of season old-crop prices have dropped for the first time since 1992.

In a bad week for potato growers, early-producers struggled to clear crops and buyers had difficulty finding orders, noted the British Potato Council (BPC).

New-crop prices are under pressure with values at £40-£50 bags in Cornwall, and £35-£60/t bulk. In Pembroke, values are £50-£70/t and Kent, £50-£80 bags up to £100 for chipping and £70-£70/t bulk.

In Suffolk and Essex, values are steadier at £70-£90 bags up to £160 for local sales and £65-£95/t bulk.

In Shropshire, prices range between £75-£90/t, and are slightly higher in Cheshire at £85-£100 bags and £84-£90/t bulk. Lincolnshire is lower, between £50-£85/t, while SW Scotland is higher at £85-£100/t.

Maincrop values continue to dwindle with grade 1 bulk material trading between £120-£180/t, and grade 2 from £30-£50/t. Mid-range samples are slightly higher at £60-£110/t.

The bag trade remains poor, with most sales between £70-£110/t, with best samples at £140/t and some Piper at £180/t.

With lower prices across the market, the BPC GB ex-farm average for maincrop potatoes tumbled again over the week, losing £20.57/t to £113.87/t. This compares with £153.20 in 1998.

Excluding processor prices, the ware trade was also down, falling £23.92 to £112.58/t.

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