Potato Weekly - 17 January 2020

Friday, 17 January 2020

At a glance

  • This week, overall demand has quietened from the start of the year. Chipping markets in particular have seen ‘below-average’ demand as retail sales in chip shops and restaurants see seasonal declines for the New Year.

  • In general, trade has mostly been of a contracted basis with free-buy trade volumes a little muted.

  • There has been continued reports of quality issues persisting in recently-lifted material. Fry colour has been a particular issue this season.

GB production pegged at 5.10Mt

The updated estimate of total potato production in Great Britain for the 2019 crop is 5.10Mt. This is a 182Kt increase from last season, but 7% below the five year average (2014-2018, 5.49Mt). Production is the third lowest on record, after last year’s drought impacted season and 2012, a year also categorised by extremely difficult growing conditions. This is based on an unharvested area of 6%.

The 2019 estimated average net yield for GB is 45.6t/ha, up 3.9t/ha from last season and 2% below average (2014-2018, 46.6t/ha). However, what will be key this season will be the quality of the crop in stores. With increased reports of rots and other issues impacting the stored crop, and much of the later lifted crop sold directly from the field, it remains to be determined how much useable crop will be available. AHDB will release its end-November stocks estimate in the coming weeks, giving a first look at this.

Full breakdown regarding regional and sector figures will be published next week.

Please note statistical 95% confidence limits for this production estimate are +/-3%, which means that the final figure for 2019 could lie anywhere in the range from 4.96Mt to 5.24Mt.

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Alex Cook


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