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Lifting continues this week for growers who have crop remaining in the ground. Conditions remain very difficult which will contribute to high losses. Frost conditions will also add to the amount of unsaleable crop. Most crops remaining in the ground are in the South East of the country with some growers reporting figures of around 12% of their crop left to be harvested.

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With the week of wet weather just passed and no settled weather forecasted, it is most likely that a lot of the crop that remains in the ground will not be lifted until next spring. Reports around the country indicate that a lot of growers still have 15%-20% of crop left to harvest.

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Frosty conditions over the past week are a major concern for growers, ultimately leading to crop losses. The severity of losses is not yet known. The weather outlook for the next week is unsettled making it more likely that remaining crop will not be harvested until next Spring.

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Very little progress has been made on the potato harvest in the past week. A lot of growers around the country have still 20 to 30 % of their crop to harvest. With no major improvement in the weather outlook it is increasingly likely that these remaining potatoes may not be harvested until next Spring. At the very least this will lead to some loss of crop but if we get heavy frosts losses will be very severe.

As tare and harvest losses are higher than last season, the production from the 3% rise in acreage has been wiped out already. With crops still in the ground, the market is facing the real possibility that overall potato supply will be similar to the low levels seen last year due to the drought.

The extra cost of harvesting this year’s crop along with potential reduction in supply should lead to a rise in farm gate prices.

Lifting conditions are still proving very difficult across Europe, with many expecting a significant portion of the UK crop being carried into the new year. Farm gate prices have strengthened across a number of lines as growers refuse to sell quality material at current prices.

Ex-Farm Potato Prices reported to IFA

  Low High Average
Rooster box €330 €380 €350
Rooster10 kg bag €3.70 €4.20 €4.00
Whites box €300 €350 €330
K Pinks 10kg bag €5.00 €5.50 €5.20

Reports around the country indicate that lifting progress is on average between 60 and 70%, a significant improvement on this time two weeks ago. A lot of the remaining crop to be harvested remains on heavier ground and lifting is likely to remain difficult with more rain forecast.

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