Domestic consumption and retail sales are improving since schools returned earlier this month. As household bills continue to rise, consumers should return to more home cooked meals and recognise the ‘value for money’ of potatoes as a staple. This trajectory should continue as Autumn approaches. There are reports of good demand for queens and prices remain stable.
As the season progresses and more growers begin harvest preparation, it is becoming more apparent that yields will be significantly reduced. This is particularly evident in the south east of the country, where crops received very little rainfall for a lot of the season. Recent rainfall has improved harvest conditions however there is continued concern that it may also may cause ‘second growth’ of crops.
As harvest commences, growers are very concerned about energy costs for storing crops this season. Growers must be compensated for storing potatoes immediately.
Heavy showers have started to improve lifting conditions across Northern Europe but buyers continue to restrict their demand to contracts and some excess to contract. As regards yields in European countries, the situation remains unchanged with very significant reductions expected in many areas. Recent test digs in France show that growth rates are slowing very quickly and that yields “could be the lowest for 21 years” and roughly 10 % lower than the last five-year average.
In the U.K. the level of consumption of potatoes has been reported to be in decline for a number of years, however, recent trends suggest that this has been reversed. Sales of whites primarily but also M. Piper are starting to improve and, in some cases, appreciably as consumers look for “value”. The drought and high temperatures recently experienced continue to cause havoc for growers. Exceptionally high dry matter levels are being reported, in the East reaching 28% on varieties including M.Piper. Some areas have experienced very heavy showers which have halted harvesting also.