Main crop squeezes new spud price

Wednesday, 09 June, 1999

By FWi staff

NEW potato values are under pressure as the main buyers in the market continue to concentrate on the end of the main crop.

The average early price for new potatoes last week was 222.42/t compared with 390.76/t in 1998.

A lack of confidence in the market, and a greater quantity of main crop available than originally thought has contributed to these lower values, said Rob Burrow of the British Potato Council (BPC).

Imports of new potatoes from Jersey, Cyprus, Italy and Spain are also affecting the market, he said.

Cyprus and Jersey should be finished by the end of June and then imports wont be such a big factor.

A number of buyers are blaming higher plantings for the lower values although there are no figures to prove this theory yet.

But lifting is still early and Mr Burrow believes that once larger supplies start to come forward from the middle of the month the major buyers will turn their attention to new potatoes. The chances are this will get some momentum going.

Meanwhile values continue to ease with new crop fetching 180-200/t in Cornwall, 230-270/t in Kent, 200-270/t in Suffolk and Essex and 300-360/t in Lincolnshire on Monday.

Best quality old crop stocks remain strong. Bold pre-packing material and best Piper for chipping is particularly short.

Even so it appears to be chucking out time for holders of some mediocre stocks where finding buyers is becoming very difficult, noted the BPC.

The BPC weekly GB ex farm average fell 8.25 to 147.89/t over the week. This compares with 149.71/t in 1998. Excluding processing the ware average suffered a larger drop of 11.48/t to 151.16/t.

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