17 January 2020
Click here if you are having trouble viewing this message.
Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

Potato Weekly

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 potato production pegged at 5.10Mt, third lowest on record

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.

Weekly prices

2019 crop - Packing
England - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
  • Average packing prices saw slight declines, a seemingly muted week of repeat order trade. The sample captured this week comprised of an increase in lower priced material, reducing the average price. However, lowest prices recorded did see increases. In Scotland, the average price for packing whites increased.
Scotland - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
2019 crop - Bags
GB - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
  • The bag trade continues to be quite quiet this week for free-buy movement. The majority of trade was contracted supply. Chip shops have seen seasonal declines in consumer demand. Prices remain high for top quality material, as fry quality issues persist in samples.
East (Yorks, East Mids, Eastern Counties) - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
West (West Mids, Wales, North West) - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
South (South West, South, South East) - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
Scotland - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
2019 crop - Processing
GB - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
  • Processing trade has continued to see increases in supply available as lifting resumed for some last week. With some lesser quality packing material being used by processors, prices have crept up slightly. High end prices represented samples moving for premium jobs.
2019 crop - Exports
GB - All prices free-buy, ex farm, £/t unless otherwise stated.
  • Export trade to the Canary Islands continues this week as an uptick in demand was reported.
  • Exports into Ireland and Belgium have also been reported this week with an increase in demand for processing supplies on the continent.

These quotes are from actual free-buy trades collected by a weekly telephone survey of buyers, growers and merchants on a Wednesday and Thursday.
They give an indication of the range of prices achieved in the past week.
Any underlined and italicised prices are based on a smaller sample and will only display the median value.
n/q = no quotes in last reported week.
For further information on what these prices mean and how they are calculated,
please click here.

Quick links

Author

Alex Cook
Trainee Analyst

Alex.Cook@ahdb.org.uk
02476 93 5746

Or meet the Market Intelligence Potato Team here.