Spud plantings down
FIRST early potato plantings are expected to be about 5% down on last year.
Most of the spare capacity will be switched into niche crops like salad potatoes, set skin new crop and early baking potatoes.
That continues the trend seen in recent years, says the British Potato Councils Rob Burrow. "Supermarkets remain committed to the Jersey crop, although we point out that a home-grown early crop is available from May."
Better cold storage facilities also see more good bakers competing with new crop markets, he adds.
Early indications from growers suggest overall plantings will drop slightly, says Mr Burrow.
Plantings are now slightly behind after the recent wet weather. Total plantings are estimated at 5069ha (4326 earlies, 743 maincrop), compared with 6873ha (5827 and 1046) last year. *
Dutch Desirée potatoes were placed in cold store at Trevor Horsnells Gorrells Farm, near Chelmsford, Essex. Cost was £170/t. They will reappear at the end of this month when Mr Horsnell hopes to start planting.