End of potato bonanza in sight?

By FWi staff

AFTER a profitable season for growers, the potato market is in stalemate, according to the British Potato Council.

Growers are looking for higher prices, while the trade is unwilling to put more money on the table, says a report in the Councils Potato Weekly.

Orders are reported by some merchants to be slipping away. Movement is similar to what might be expected in a poor season, but prices reflect the opposite.

Grower prices are steady, or in some cases slightly weaker than they were a week ago, with merchants buying on a hand-to-mouth basis.

Cambridgeshire and East Anglia field manager Mark Colmer reports that supplies are generally in balance with demand, and UK prices have eased back in line with falling continental prices. Export orders, especially to Ireland, have not been as high as had been expected.

While some of the best cutting samples are still in demand, processing prices have dropped by £10-20/t, with Maris Piper £160/t ex farm. Bulk stocks with high baker content and clean samples for packing head the price list at over £300/t for loads of Piper.

Growers are keen to unload stores of late lifted material or those showing suspect keeping quality.

“My advice is not to hold on to stocks in the hope of a later windfall,” says Mr Colmer. “The best strategy is to market cautiously but steadily from now on.”

Quality is still generally good, considering the very wet harvest conditions.

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