Spud men race the weather

By FWi staff

POTATO producers are frantically lifting their crops fearing the good weather might not last. But this is adding further pressure on the market and high soil temperatures mean that storage would be too high a risk.

Meanwhile the recent heatwave is finishing off unirrigated crops that managed to survive the July onslaught, noted the British Potato Council (BPC).

“However, irrigated and late planted crops continue to bulk, but more are now being burnt off.”

Despite the recent uptake of harvesting lifting continues to be behind last year due to the wet weather seen in July.

With more potatoes off the field growers have been able to start assessing their maincrop yields.

So far a wide variation has been noted. The range is from 22-84t/ha with an average of 44 compared to 42t/ha in early September last year, said a spokesman from BPC.

Bulk grade 1 material and contract processing continue to dominate the market with bold set skin samples attracting quotes of between £70-£100/t. Best Piper are at £120/t.

Other packers are between £60-£80/t with better material at 100/t.

Grade 2 remains limited with the low prices keeping stocks from coming to market. Values start at £30/t with the majority selling for between £40-£55/t.

Bagged Piper are at £50/t for non-fryers with the majority between £55-£75/t. Top prices can fetch £100/t.

Other bagged samples start from £25/t with most between £35-£65/t and best reds are at £80/t.

The firm trade for quality packing, salad and processing contracts has failed to hold the market and the BPC weekly GB ex farm average eased £1.09 to £75.61/t over the week. This compares with £134.38/t in last year and £62.03/t in 1997.

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