GB planted potato area by variety and sector 2019

Friday, 20 September 2019

The 2019 GB planted potato area is one of the lowest on record even though there is a 1% year-on-year increase. What is driving this change?  

The total 2019 planted GB area (revised estimate) is 118.95Kha. This updated estimate puts the area 1% higher than last year and represents the GB area covered by over 90% of producers.  Although the revised estimate shows a slight increase year-on-year this remains one of the lowest on record. Much of the increase seen in area has been from small growers increasing their area, a decision likely driven in part by the high priced year of 2018.

Alice Bailey

Senior Analyst Potatoes

GB planted potato area by variety 2019

The top ten most widely grown varieties account for over 40% of the overall GB area planted to potatoes, as it did last year. This is made up of varieties from all sectors.

Although the top 3 most grown varieties have held their positions, there has been some interesting changes. Maris Piper has bucked its downward trend (with an exception in 2016), showing an increase of 6.5% from 2018 plantings. Piper accounts for 13.5% of the GB planted potato area this year at 16.1Kha. There has been a shift in the amount of Piper grown on contract for retail compared to free-buy, up 27% compared to last year and up 43% compared to the 4-year average (2015-2018 plantings).  

In contrast, Maris Peer, although retaining 3rd position, has fallen year-on-year. This brings the total GB area planted to Maris Peer to the lowest since 2010. There has been reports that demand for salad potatoes has been dropping slightly and this could be some of the driver. Also Maris Peer is being replaced by newer varieties such as Jazzy, experiencing over 21% increase in planted area.  

Lady Rosetta, just scraped into the top 10 varieties list but has fallen 21.5% compared to last year, dropping it to 10th place at 3.0Kha as other varieties increase in popularity. Lady Rosetta has been overtaken by Taurus as the most widely grown crisping variety at 3.3Kha. Taurus has become a popular crisping variety due to its tolerance to PCN and decent storability. Although much lower down the list, VR808 has also seen a large year-on-year increase in area, the largest of all (as a percentage) at 59%.

GB planted potato area by sector 2019

Most sectors have seen some growth in planted area compared to last year. The area of potatoes grown intended for the retail market remains the largest and has grown by 1.6Kha year-on-year, and 1.8Kha against the 5-year average. The increase has been driven by a higher proportion grown on contract for the pre-pack market.  

Although still the second largest sector, potatoes grown intended for the processing sector has fallen slightly this year at an estimated 36.1Kha, down 1% from last year’s area. This is driven mostly by a drop in the planted area of potatoes destined for the crisping sector, rather than French fries.

The area planted with potatoes intended for the fresh chipping sector has been following a generally downwards trend since 2010, although some years have seen a slight uptick year-on-year. This is the case this year, with a 3% rise in area at 13.4Kha, compared to last year.

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