Early spud markets ease 10-20/t

By Olivia Cooper

EARLY potato markets have eased by 10-20/t as harvest progresses and better weather aids the bulking process.

The late plantings are finally catching up, and although rain prevented lifting last week, the fine weekend has speeded up harvest progress, says British Potato Councils Rob Burrow.

“The (2000) maincrop supplies are running out, and the forecast better weather should help maintain a steady flow of new-crop.

“Supply and demand will even out, which should lead to a more stable market,” he says.

The most interest still lies in early chipping and packing varieties, with the first processing crops expected from the south coast this week.

In Cornwall, bags have eased to 120/t, while Dundrod for chipping are still in good demand, fetching 195-200/t in Suffolk.

Meanwhile, imports from Belgium have picked up to fill the domestic gaps, but the BPC say volumes are expected to fall rapidly as UK supplies reach the market.

Demand is growing for salad and punnet potatoes, as a greater quantity start to be lifted, with graded fractions below 40mm selling for 270-300/t up to 340-400/t.

Quality is generally good, although scab is widespread, and blight “predictors” are warning growers to take immediate action.

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