Potato crop down 800,000t

By FWi staff

TOTAL potato production for 2000 has fallen by about 800,000 tonnes compared with last years crop, according to latest figures from the British Potato Council.

First BPC estimates put total production at 6.068m tonnes, 11% lower than 1999 and 8% below the five-year average.

Average harvested yield is estimated at 41.8t/ha, 5% below the five-year average.

Clearance to date is 119,039ha, 82% of total plantings, compared with 146,002ha last year.

“The quality of the crop still in the ground could be affected by the recent wet weather, and if any of the crop still in the ground cannot be lifted, this will reduce the total production estimate,” says the BPCs Rob Burrow.

“Currently, crop losses are a very small percentage of the total, at 332ha.”

As a result of difficult harvesting, prices conrtinue to rise in all sectors of the trade.

In East Anglia and Lincolnshire bulk whites are mainly 120-200/t, up to 220/t for best Edward.

Reds are worth 100-200/t, grade 2 samples from 35/t.

Bags are fetching 130-150/t up to 170/t for best Edward and Maris Piper.

Bulk whites in the south and Wales are averaging 120-170/t, up to 200/t for many varieties.

Bagged whites are mostly 90-125/t, reds 100-140/t.

In the Midlands, best bulk whites are fetching 200/t, reds 140-180/t.

Bags are worth 70-100/t up to 115/t for best Wilja.

In the north, best bulk whites are worth 110-160/t, reds 90-130/t up to 160/t for best Cara. Bagged whites are averaging 70-90/t up to 130/t for best Maris Piper.

Prices in Scotland are slightly lower with bulk whites averaging 90-120/t up to 150/t for best Edward.

Bags are mainly 75-90/t up to 150/t for best Kers Pink.

The BPC weekly GB ex-farm average price continued upward last week by 6.05 to 106.22/t excluding bags, compared with 60.47 last year.

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