Potatoes Reports

Potato Council Report May 2020

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

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, details available here.
  • 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 which is available here.
  • 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.
ChairmanThomas McKeown
ExecutivePatrick Farrell

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