Consumption and demand continue to return to pre-pandemic levels with the current cost of living crisis influencing consumption also. Demand of queens remains positive at present. Growers continue to prepare for harvest and somegrowers in the south east are now lifting crops. Recent rainfall has aided harvesting conditions. Reports from growers remain consistent that yields are much lower than last year.
As harvest commences growers are very concerned about energy costs for storing crops this season. Growers must be compensated for storing potatoes immediately.
Across Europe, stability in the market is being maintained by exporters looking to supply Spain, Italy and Eastern Europe for fresh consumption and frying varieties. Quality is reported to be good but further estimates this week of total crop production include the latest from Belgium, which shows current yield curves between 15 and 25% below the long-term average. Crops are not handling the dry conditions well, with lower tuber size and very high dry matter. In France, government estimates put the reduction in total crop at 10%,whereas, industry estimates are closer to 20%.
In the U.K. sellers report good movement of whites this week,both of new crop and remaining old crop. Unirrigated crops of all varieties in all areas are showing a number of quality issues including bruising but also “internals”, skin quality and early dormancy break. Yields of maincrop crispers are initially being estimated approximately “possibly 20%” down compared to last year but the increase in dry matter levels this year could go a long way to compensate for the shortfall.