21 July 1997
Potato plantings are down
POTATO plantings throughout the UK are estimated at 142,500ha for 1997 which is about 10,000ha less than last year, according to a forecast from the British Potato Council.
The council estimates that plantings will fall significantly this year after farmers received low prices for their 1996 crop. Prices hit a 30-year low in real terms last year averaging only £50-55 per tonne, a level which hasnt been seen since 1992 when the UK produced a massive crop.
Plantings have consistently hovered around the 140,000ha range since the glut of 1992, with last year being the exception when plantings reached 152,665ha.
There is also concern about blight attacking this years crop, with the council expected to release a report this week.
A spokesman for the council said blight has the potential to be a widespread problem this year, but a proper spraying programme and early burning should keep the situation under control.