Processing potato prices slip

By FWi Staff

EXCEPT for those supplying the quality packing sector, most growers had an uncertain week, with processing prices slipping back.

Supplies outstripped demand, despite increased movement to storage, making buyers more selective and leaving mediocre stocks hard to sell. The British Potato Council reported the best guide for price being quality, with prices ranging from £50-£60 for poor, £100-£150 for normal and average potatoes. Best potatoes made between £180-£220.

Markets appeared to be divided last week. Bag sales are slow, although the bulk sector has shown more interest. Bulk Piper start from £70. Grade 2 range between £100-£140, while grade 1 are £150-£190 but can fetch up to £220 for best samples. Average whites are £90-£120, wholecrop about £190 depending on size potential and value-pack types £70-£90.

In bagged samples, even Piper has dropped as ex-farm volumes increase. Prices start at £80, but mainly range between £100-£120. Top prices fetch up to £140. Wilja, Estima and other whites are £100-£120 up to £155. Reds start at £120 with top prices at £170. Salads remain steady at £230-£250.

The futures markets recovered from last weeks falls as April 1999 contracts rallied to finish at £167 in London and £105 in Amsterdam by the end of last week.

The BPC report that recent tumbles in futures are slowing on physical markets as storage increases. The BPC weekly GB ex-farm average price moved £4.05 down to £118.44 per tonne. This compares with £62.66 in 1997 and £60.20 in 1996. When the weaker processing contracts and spot prices are excluded the ware average faired better with only a £5.22 fall to £127.58 compared with £54.90 in 1997.

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