Quality-spud prices tempt growers to sell

By FWi staff

THE potato trade has continued to firm this week for quality material, and more growers are thinking of opening stores as prices inch up further, noted the British Potato Council.

Bulk material of grade 1 quality rose to as much £250/t this week for Piper and Cara, and top packing samples, mainly red, are between £160-£200/t. Piper are £180-£200/t and whites £150-£170/t. Value-pack potatoes start at £80, with most between £150-£180/t.

Other sectors have also firmed, starting at £80/t, with most white samples making between £120-£140/t. Reds are slightly higher at £125-150/t.

The British Potato Council reported a busy week on the futures markets as frost and rain had a positive influence.

April 1999 contracts had climbed to £305/t in London and £267/t in Amsterdam by Thursday.

With better-quality stocks and processing material rising, the BPC weekly GB ex-farm average price climbed £9.81 to £150.74/t. This compares with £71.50/t in 1997 and £50.37/t in 1996.

The ware-only average price also remained firm at £160.34/t, noted the BPC. This compares with £67.13 at this time last year.

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