Potato Market Update 12th October
Demand and consumption are improving as colder weather approaches. Sales of larger 7.5kg bags are down, with more volumes going through smaller pack sizes since the pandemic. More growers are harvesting where crops are fit. Quality is reported to be very good and yields are reduced on last year. With reduced planted acreage and yields this year stocks should tighten later in the year. Storage costs of crops over the winter is grower’s main concern. Growers must be compensated for these additional costs and additional margin passed directly to growers immediately.
In the U.K. lifting conditions are generally very good now and clearance of packing sector crops from the Midlands southwards is “down to the last week” with many now finished. Up the East side to Yorkshire, conditions remain dry and irrigation is often required to reduce damage and 15 to 25mm is still being applied. In the Fens, where there is a high percentage of late frying varieties, some growers have not yet started but overall clearance is “around 50%”. In Scotland, rain prevented lifting at the start of the week but there is now good progress. Clearance is “around 25%”.
Clearance across Northern Europe has moved on well this week following the heavy rain in some areas two week ago and the estimate of total clearance in France is now 60% +. Buyers for the processing factories continue to focus on contracts and are showing little interest in free buy. Factories are at full production while there are ample supplies of quality raw material but there are also concerns about the future cost of electricity and the supply of gas. Some processors are encouraging growers by letter to remind them that their contract commitments must be honoured in full.