|Rooster box (new season)||€600||€650||€625|
|Rooster 10kg (new season)||€7.50||€8||€7.75|
|Kerr Pinks 10kg (new season)||€8||€9||€8.5|
|Markie wholesale (chipping) 25kg bag||€11.50||€12.50||€12|
Harvest 2023 has been reported as one of the most difficult in recent memory. Problems were evident even before harvest began with waterlogging, bacterial soft rots and deep tram lines. Widespread flooding in October further compounded the difficult conditions and it is now almost inevitable that losses will occur. Yields appear to be around average with tuber numbers reported to be lower but size is good. It is estimated that over 60% of crops remain in the ground. Losses are already reported as drills are flooded. Further losses are inevitable as more wet weather is forecast.
The situation is similar in the U.K where wet weather is halting any harvesting. Buyers report a steady demand in the markets for quality samples. Delivered in prices are holding with more confidence. Movement to the Canaries continues at recent pricing but there have already been rejections where inspectors consider soil content to be above tolerance levels.
In terms of markets, this year is the first time since the pandemic that both retail sales and domestic consumption appear to have stabilised. Last year consumers appeared to be shopping with short term in mind, however more long-term patterns appear to have returned. With rising inflation, consumers seem to appreciate the value for money that potatoes offer as a staple. Stocks of old season potatoes were very low before new season crops came onto the market which created excellent demand for new season varieties.
Increased input costs, especially storage costs, are very worrying for growers. Potatoes have increased at retail level this year, which is welcome as they were one of the only fresh categories not to increase last year. IFA continues to arrange meetings with all retailers and merchants to ensure that farmers receive a sustainable margin and to discuss irrational quality parameters.
Planted Acreage figures 2023
The area of planted maincrop reduced by 5% on 2022 acreage to 7163ha. There was a small increase in early varieties planted. Yields to date are reported quite average, official yield dig figures will be released shortly.
Activity since last Council
- IFA issues a press release on the harvest to date which is shaping up to be the worst in recent memory with significant losses almost inevitable https://www.ifa.ie/farm-sectors/potato-harvest-worst-in-recent-memory/
- IFA met with Minister Kieran O’Donnell on the issue of commercial rates. In recent years there has been an increase in inspections on potato, tillage and horticulture premises by Local Government on behalf of the Valuation Office. Inspectors are deeming storage sheds, packing sheds, and washing bays ratable. These buildings are not ratable by virtue of constituting “Farm buildings” as defined Valuation Act 2001. If a precedent is set, then almost all agriculture buildings could be viewed as ratable, creating potentially disastrous for all agriculture sectors. Accordingly, the current exemption is not fit for purpose. The Minister agreed to review what practises are taking place in local authorities.
- National Potato Day 2023- IFA was actively involved in another very successful NPD held in October which was co-ordinated by Bord Bia.
- IFA led a successful lobbying campaign to attain an emergency approval of Diquat for the 2023 harvesting season. The non-renewal of Diquat is causing grave concern for growers and IFA will continue to work on emergency approval for 2024 and the approval of alternative active ingredients.
- IFA met an online meeting of Potato Growers last month to discuss the harvest. Shay Phelan from Teagasc also attended the meeting.
- IFA met with all leading retailers to discuss how the season is unfolding, the spiralling input prices and adjustment to prices to aid growers during this critical period.
- IFA addressed the Joint Oireachtas Committee last month on the topic of “Challenges in the Irish Horticulture sector with a focus on Food Waste”. More details can be found https://www.ifa.ie/farm-sectors/fairness-must-be-restored-to-irish-horticulture-sector
- IFA will continue to monitor the origin of produce with the use of Isotope testing this summer.
- IFA continues to engage with retailers on spiralling input costs and setting up meetings with retailer buyers and packers at this critical period.
- 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 and engage in both stocks/acreage surveys.