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As wet weather conditions set in across the country, growers face additional challenges and liftings will be set back in some areas. Retail demand remains quite strong however the food service sector has experienced another blow as stricter lockdown measure are imposed for the entire country.

In the U.K. trade remains generally subdued. Packing Maris Piper seems to be the only material making any kind of traction. Liftings are reported to be continuing at pace with growers trying to get some complete in the next week. Clearance is 50 to 75% in the South and the Midlands with more growers starting to clear but, in the Fens, and Lincolnshire progress is only 20 to 30%. In Scotland, lifting of ware crops is “60%” complete.

Recent estimates the total production in the E.U. 27 is expected to be 54.8mt’s compared to 51.23mt’s last year and 56.38mt’s in 2017. Physical markets across Europe remain broadly unchanged with processors still only taking very light volumes of free buy.

Low High Average
Rooster box (New Season) €380 €430 €400
Rooster 10 kg (New Season) €4 €5 €4.50
New Season Queen 10kg bag €5 €7 €6
New Season Kerr Pinks €5.50 €6.50 €6

Activity since last Council

  • National Potato Day took place on Friday October 2nd. This year’s event was based online and involved social media activities based on cooking potato dishes and promoting the nutritional benefits of potatoes.
  • Following an extensive lobbying campaign, IFA successfully secured a derogation for the emergency use of Diquat.
  • The IFA planted acreage survey is almost complete. DAFM preliminary BPS area figures show potato area similar to 2019. Reports from growers indicate that yields appear to be average or just below average.
  • A number of growers supplying the catering and fresh chip sectors have continued to be seriously affected by the lack of demand due to the impact of the pandemic and have had to send potatoes for cattle feed. IFA continue to engage with DAFM on this.
  • The second activation of the new EU Potato Promotions Campaign is now underway. A number of influencers are onboard and they will showcase their cooking skill and the versatility of potato dishes to their millennial audiences. IFA has been involved in meetings of the Potato Promotion group to launch the new EU potato promotion campaign the website can be found on https://www.potato.ie/

EU/COPA developments

  • IFA, along with Copa.Cogeca, are continuing their lobbying in Brussels regarding the reapproval and authorisation of a number of vital PPP’s.
  • The Farm to Fork Strategy element of the European Green Deal is aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly. IFA have highlighted that there is nothing fair about targets in the Green Deal, which will increase the regulatory burden and undermine local tillage framers while continuing to allow access to non-EU feedstuffs produced to different standards.

Upcoming Activity/Events

  • IFA will continue to demand that packers and retailers pay sustainable potato farm gate prices.
  • IFA will continue to contact growers to ensure they are aware of the costs of production.
  • Potato Promotions – The second activation of the potato promotions is now underway; more details are on https://www.potato.ie/.  Growers have received a letter to support this initiative. Growers contribute 20% of the funding but this will be matched by 80% co-funding from the EU.

There will be further interaction with DAFM regarding the inclusion of haulm toppers and potato storage equipment under TAMS.

Chairman Thomas McKeown
Executive Patrick Farrell

Market Report

 Ex-Farm Potato Prices reported to IFA

Low High Average
Rooster box (New Season) €400 €450 €425
Rooster 10 kg (New Season) €5.00 €6.00 €5.50
New Season Queen 10kg bag €5 €7 €6

 

The potato market remains stable this week as schools return. With no let-up in wet weather the lifting of crops continues to be affected, limiting the supply of new season maincrop onto the market. Old season stocks are diminishing with strong demand for good quality stock.  The Queen market remains buoyant as lifting finishes in parts of the country.

In the U.K. harvesting conditions are mixed, many growers have been stopped with heavy rain with some areas still remaining a touch dry. The cooler weather has also affected coastal trade slightly, which is where the bulk of demand is coming from. The second provisional planted area estimate for the total Britain potato area for 2020/21 is 119Kha

Heavy thunderstorms have been widespread over mainland Europe this week although a minority of areas remain relatively dry. Test digs continue to confirm yields as “average” but with a high content of 50mm + and often with high Dry Matter.

Activity since last National Council

  • IFA will have the results for the 2020 planted acreage survey in the coming weeks. DAFM preliminary BPS area figures show potato area similar to 2019. Yields are likely to take a hit from the drought which has left lower tuber numbers.
  • An online national Potato Committee meeting was held on the 16th of July. The main discussion points were: weather conditions, 2020 season progress and diquat derogation.
  • A number of growers supplying the catering and fresh chip sectors have continued to be seriously affected by the lack of demand due to the impact of the pandemic and have had to send potatoes for cattle feed. IFA continue to engage with DAFM on this.
  • IFA has been involved in meetings of the Potato Promotion group to launch the new EU potato promotion campaign. The second activation of the new promotion campaign is due to take place this month. The website can be found on https://www.potato.ie/
  • IFA met with Ministers for Agriculture Barry Cowan & Darragh Calleary on the emergency approval of diquat based on the current weather and blight conditions.  All other relevant TD’s have also been lobbied on the issue with a series of letters having been sent to DAFM.
  • There was another meeting of the Potato Development Group to discuss the seed and fresh chip sectors. 

EU/COPA developments

  • IFA made a contribution to the EU commission objecting to the decision of Austria to ban the use of glyphosate. The commission have postponed their decision until the end of the year.
  • IFA, along with Copa.Cogeca, are continuing their lobbying in Brussels regarding the reapproval and authorisation of a number of vital PPP’s.
  • IFA made a submission to the EU Commission on The Combined Roadmap for the Evaluation of the EU Legislation on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides.
  • The Farm to Fork Strategy element of the European Green Deal is aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly. IFA have highlighted that there is nothing fair about targets in the Green Deal, which will increase the regulatory burden and undermine local tillage framers while continuing to allow access to non-EU feedstuffs produced to different standards. 

Upcoming Activity/Events

  • Due to the necessity of the product IFA will continue its work seeking a derogation for Diquat.
  • IFA will continue to demand that packers and retailers pay sustainable potato farm gate prices.
  • IFA will continue to contact growers to ensure they are aware of the costs of production.
  • Potato Promotions – The second activation of the potato promotions is due to begin in the next two weeks. Again, this activation will be online using six influencers to promote potato recipes to millennials. Growers have received a letter to support this initiative. Growers contribute 20% of the funding but this will be matched by 80% co-funding from the EU.
  • National Potato Day – This year National Potato day is on 2nd October and will be focused online due to restrictions. There will be online activations for this in early October. IFA will be involved in the planning and will be participating in the activities.
  • There will be further interaction with DAFM regarding the inclusion of haulm toppers and potato storage equipment under TAMS.

 

Chair Thomas McKeown
Executive Patrick Farrell

As restaurants re-opens this week there is an air of optimism that the food service sector will begin to       return to some form of “new-normal”. Demand for early varieties continues as more Queens come onto   the market. Reports from early growers suggest average yields with some frost damage on the earliest  crops.

In the U.K. this week has seen free-buy trade in all sectors at low levels. As the end of the 2019 season approaches, contracts and material bought are being “cleared” up in preparation of new-crop supply. Earlies trade is reported to be sluggish. There seems to be a reduction in demand for earlies on the free-buy market with the lack of catering demand being felt.

Across Europe the impact of the lockdown is beginning to come to light, processing activity in Holland in May is estimated to have reduced to 65% of capacity compared to the year before and in France it reduced to 52%. The Dutch industry is estimated to have used 330,000 tonnes or 7.7% less raw material over the twelve-month period to the end of May. The situation is improving now, however, the long-term impact is likely to be felt for some time.

Ex-Farm Potato Prices reported to IFA

Low High Average
Rooster box €330 €380 €350
Rooster10 kg bag €3.30 €4.00 €3.50
Whites box €320 €370 €350
K Pinks 10kg bag €4.20 €5.00 €4.50
Golden Wonder 10kg bag €5.00 €6.00 €5.50

Activity since last National Council 

  • Results of the IFA potato stock survey were published in early June.  The summary is as follows; survey results reveal that there were 30,000 tonnes of Rooster as at 31st May 2020, which is on par with last season but considerably lower than previous years. The amount of other varieties remaining was marginal.   
  • IFA are currently carrying out the planted acreage survey for the 2020 season. DAFM has released preliminary BPS area figures which show potato area similar to 2019. If yields take a hit from the drought this will leave production significantly lower than last year. 
  • An online national Potato Committee meeting was held on the 3rd of June. The main discussion points were: the implications of the drought, 2020 season progress and PPP’s.  
  • A number of growers supplying the catering and fresh chip sectors have continued to be seriously affected by the lack of demand due to the impact of the pandemic and have had to send potatoes for cattle feed. IFA have brought this to the attention of DAFM. 
  • IFA has been involved in meetings of the Potato Promotion group to launch the new EU potato promotion campaign. The first activation took place last month which was an Instagram campaign where influencers created potato dishes. The website can be found on https://www.potato.ie/ 
  • IFA has lobbied in Brussels and with DAFM regarding the reauthorisation of a number of vital PPP’s. There is also ongoing work involving a series of meetings regarding an emergency derogation for the potato desiccant diquat. 
  • There was further interaction with DAFM regarding the inclusion of haulm toppers and potato storage equipment under TAMS.  
  • IFA put forward a submission to the Joint Oireachtas detailing support for the horticulture sectors in the context of the next CAP through on-farm investment, and the development of producer groups. 
  • Last week the commission offered an additional €10 million to promote sales of crisis-hit agri-food products. The extra €10 million fund will be available to boost sales of fruit and vegetable, wine, live plants, dairy and certain potatoes. Half of that amount will go to promotion activities run jointly by producer organisations from several EU countries and the other half to national activities. In both cases, promotion can take place either within or outside the EU within a one-year period. Proposals must be submitted by 27 August 2020. 

Upcoming Activity/Events 

  • Potato Promotions – The promotion has now begun and activities are scheduled for the coming months. IFA will be involved in the planning and will be participating in the activities. 
  • All growers have received a letter from IFA asking them to contribute to the potato promotion fund. There will be a follow up to the letter to encourage all growers to contribute shortly. Growers and industry will each have to contribute 20% of the funding but this will be matched by 80% co-funding from the EU. 
  • IFA will continue to demand that packers and retailers increase potato farm gate prices to cover the extra costs of cold storage. 
  • The annual potato planting survey has commenced. 
  • IFA will continue its work regarding for the retention of key PPP’s and seeking a derogation for Diquat. 

 

Chairman Thomas McKeown
Executive Patrick Farrell

Once again, this week retail demand remains quite positive and the food service sector continues to operate at around 25% capacity. Frost damage has been reported, especially in shaded areas in east Wexford. The extent of the damage is not yet known, but digging could be delayed by up to three weeks as a result in some areas and yields reduced. Continued dry weather has forced some growers to commence irrigating last week. Reports indicate that glasshouse potatoes are in the region of €2000-€2200/tonne.

Cold and dry conditions are also causing havoc for growers in the U.K. Soils are now very dry and reports suggest that frost damage on sites with lush top growth was nearly 70% in some cases but on irrigated sites, this was restricted to 10%. The market situation remains much unchanged.

In Europe drought and cold nights are also a primary concern, as temperatures fell to  -4.5°C in Holland last week. Early processing crops in Germany appear to have escaped the cold weather. Processing prices remain “on the floor” and growers’ main concern is to clear stores. Outlets include starch, cattle food and ethanol production. Slightly more interest in exports to the East is reported in Belgium – although at low prices.  Fresh markets are firm with buyers looking for new crop. All N.European countries report that varieties destined for processing are now competing for market share in the fresh sector, but high levels of skin blemish and dehydration are ruling out many stocks.

Ex-Farm Potato Prices reported to IFA

Low High Average
Rooster box €330 €380 €350
Rooster10 kg bag €3.30 €4.00 €3.50
Whites box €320 €370 €350
K Pinks 10kg bag €4.20 €5.00 €4.50
Golden Wonder 10kg bag €5.00 €6.00 €5.50

Activity since last National Council

The IFA May potato stock survey is current being finalised, and will be published in the next week.

  • There were some further reports of uncertified potato seed advertised for sale on Done deal, IFA brought this to the attention of DAFM
  • IFA had a conference call meeting last week with the NPWS on the issue of wood pigeon derogation. We have subsequently sent a submission to the NPWS on the issue https://www.ifa.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Wood-Pidgeon-Derogation.pdf.
  • IFA continued to receive a number of queries from growers around the country regarding restricted movements due to COVID-19 and how growers are implicated. Any farmer/grower is permitted to travel to work/harvest etc during this time. Farmers are advised to their drivers’ licence and/or their IFA membership as proof of identification. If a farmer/grower has employees the advice is to provide them with a letter. A template letter is available on https://www.ifa.ie/COVID19/
  • A number of growers supplying the catering and fresh chip sectors have been seriously affected by the lack of demand due to the impact of the pandemic and have had to send potatoes for cattle feed. IFA have brought this to the attention of DAFM.
  • IFA has been involved in meetings of the Potato Promotion group to launch the new EU potato promotion campaign.https://www.potato.ie/
  • An IFA potato newsletter was produced and circulated to all by email and the link texted to all members.https://ifa.newsweaver.com/15nen7go4d/s1vs56pizw94a0w9ors4um?email=true&lang=en&a=11&p=5129707
  • IFA has lobbied in Brussels and with DAFM regarding the re authorisation of a number of vital PPP’s such as mancozeb. There is also ongoing work involving a series of meetings regarding an emergency derogation for the potato desiccant diquat.
  • IFA contacted a number of retailers regarding the stocking of Italian potatoes instead of Irish produce.

Upcoming Activity/Events

  • Potato Promotions – The promotion has now begun and activities are scheduled for the coming months. Most activities will be online centring around influencers sharing recipes and nutritional facts about potatoes. IFA will be involved in the planning and will be participating in the activities.
  • All growers have now received a letter from IFA asking them to contribute to the potato promotion fund. There will be a follow up to the letter to encourage all growers to contribute. Growers and industry will each have to contribute 20% of the funding but this will be matched by 80% co-funding from the EU.
  • IFA will continue to demand that packers and retailers increase potato farm gate prices to cover the extra costs of cold storage.
  • The annual potato planting survey will commence in June
  • IFA will continue its work regarding for the retention of key PPP’s and seeking a derogation for Diquat.
  • IFA is in contact with DAFM regarding the inclusion of haulm toppers and potato storage equipment under the TAMS scheme.
Chairman Thomas McKeown
Executive Patrick Farrell

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