Storage, Trends

UK: January potato stocks reach parity with 2016 levels

GB potato stock levels at the end of January were at a similar level to the same point in 2016, despite a four-year low yield, according an AHDB survey of grower stocks. The figure suggests a slowing in drawdown rates between the end of November and January, says AHDB Analyst, Amber Cottingham. The survey result estimated GB potato stock levels at the end of January at 1.9Mt. This is similar to the same point in the season last year and around 350Kt less than at the end of January 2015. November stock levels were tracking ahead of last season suggesting that the drawdown on stocks between the end of November 2016 and the end of January 2017 was 965Kt. This compares to a drawdown of 1,243Kt for the corresponding period last year, a significant drop of 278Kt. 

AHDB Market Intelligence Analyst Amber Cottingham suggested that prices could have affected the drawdown rate.

“Ex-farm free-buy prices this season are at the second highest level this century, behind only 2012 and this has had an impact on some markets. Reports suggest that there has been some reluctance from growers to load at market values, as well as purchasers unwilling to raise free-buy prices, causing somewhat of a stalemate between the two,” said Amber.

“It is important to remember that although drawdown has slowed there are only a finite amount of potatoes available in this, low production, season.”

AHDB’s March stocks results will provide further insight, the report is due in May. To read the full January stocks report and for more insight on the potato market, visit

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