GB planted area by variety 2020

Friday, 16 October 2020

This season, only the top two varieties, Maris Piper and Markies have remained in the same position within the Top 10.

The total 2020 planted GB area (revised estimate) is 117.47Kha. This updated estimate indicates a drop in planted area of 2.3% compared to last year and represents the GB area covered by over 90% of producers. This puts the planted area for 2020 as the third smallest on record, behind only 2015 and 2016. The driving force behind the drop is mainly the processing sector, but also the fresh bags sector with a combined reduction of 4.1Kha.

GB planted potato area by variety 2020

Similar to previous years, over 40% of the overall GB potato area is attributed to the Top 10 most chosen varieties. This planting by variety data includes all sector varieties.

This season, only the top two varieties, Maris Piper and Markies have remained in the same position within the top 10 from the final estimates for 2019/20. Maris Piper has seen the largest decline in planted area, a fall of 13% (2.07Kha), now once again continuing the area declines seen from 2016 to 2018. At 13.92Kha, this is the lowest recorded Maris Piper area since the survey began in 2010.

Piper accounts for 11.8% of the GB planted potato area this year. There has been quality issues reported with Maris Piper samples this year, perhaps pushing some to switch to other varieties with better yields and resistances.

The decline in Maris Piper plantings can be most seen in the English planted area rather than Scotland or Wales. Typically Scottish Maris Piper is destined for packing markets whilst English Maris Piper samples are more split between processing and packing.

This season, the GB processing area has declined 7.1% from last season. Within that, the processing contracted area is down 6.4%. Whilst, declines in GB free-buy processing are down further at 20.3% though covering a much smaller area. The decline in contracted and free-buy processing area may give reason for the large reduction in Maris Piper plantings.

Also at a small area is the fresh bags sector, which for GB is estimated at a 22.8% reduction year-on-year. Within these sector declines, it is evident that preference for Maris Piper has fallen away somewhat, though support still remains enough for the variety to stay number one by a large acreage.

Markies though retaining second place, has also seen its area planted decline year-on-year, down 6% (390ha) to be estimated at 5.87Kha. This is the lowest Markies area since 2018.

Worth mentioning in third place is Melody, which is up two places from last year. The variety has seen the second largest gain in area within the Top 20 varieties this year, at a 27% (1.0Kha) increase. At 4.73Kha, it is the largest Melody area seen since the survey began in 2010.

Some better levels of demand have been observed for the pre-packing sector this year over other sectors. Melody having strong resistances to a range of diseases and bruising too, could be a factor in its area increase year-on-year.

Alex Cook

Analyst Potatoes & Cereals and Oilseeds

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