Potato Weekly - 28 August 2020

Friday, 28 August 2020

At a glance

  • Free-buy markets have remained slow this week with contracted material continuing to be utilised.
  • The bags market is feeling the effects of the government scheme encouraging dine-in events and the cooler weather is deterring some coastal trade too.
  • For many growers lifting has been stop-start with heavy bouts of rainfall in some regions. The rain is very variable across the country though with some area’s still a touch dry.
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GB planted area estimate

The second provisional planted area estimate for the total GB potato area for 2020/21 is 119Kha.

This estimate is based on a sample covering 80% of producers by area. Statistical 95% confidence limits for the estimate are +/-0.9%, which means that the final figure for 2020 could lie anywhere in the range from 117,992ha to 120,078ha.

Alice Bailey

Senior Analyst Potatoes

Market commentary

Packing

  • There was a minor pick up in demand for packing markets this week. However, market movement remains dominated by contracted supplies.
  • Movement of Reds has picked up as set skin supplies become available, though still prove difficult to find in large volumes.
  • Plenty of rainfall this week has again hindered growers across most of England and parts of Scotland. Those on lighter soils predict a return to fields on the weekend to resume lifting.

Bags

  • The bags market has remained under pressure from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme which only dine-in premises can be part of.
  • The cooler weather has also affected coastal trade slightly, which is where the bulk of demand is coming from.
  • The prices have remained somewhat stable from last week, but trade is definitely limited to low volumes still.
  • Lifting of material has slowed with the weather, but this hasn’t largely translated into market support yet because of the limited demand. 

Processing

  • Demand has mostly consisted of repeat orders this week, but generally steady.
  • Pub and restaurant trade during the government Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been reportedly strong, with demand for frozen chips persisting.
  • Requirements are generally covered by contracted material, limiting trade of free-buy potatoes.

Exports

  • We are unable to publish any export prices this week, due to an inadequate number of quotes.
  • However, there are reports of exports to the Canary Islands of both chipping and packing potatoes moving at a premium to domestic crop.
  • The demand picture from the Canaries is slightly mixed, with reports of a poorer domestic harvest on the island but potentially counteracted by a reduced expectation from the tourism industry.
  • We also heard of some limited trade into Northern Ireland this week.

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