Potatoes and sugar beet share some agronomic challenges but the structural ones differ. As Robert Harris reports for Farmers Weekly, the balance of margins in the potato sector needs addressing, while a whole-rotation costings approach to the beet crop could help grower decision-making.
Many growers will be nursing financial damage or losses from the past two years of potato production. The continuing challenges are familiar – cost inflation, constraints on inputs for environmental reasons and falling saleable yield are closing the already narrow margin, says Nick Blake, a director of Andersons Eastern.
The impact of Brexit continues, notably reduced availability of imported seed and the lack, and resulting increased cost, of casual labour.
The lack of long-term relationships, while on the face it are of commercial benefit to the retailer, will not help deliver the environmental/sustainability benefits being demanded. The packers themselves are not making significant margins, and less than some growers, on a margin of turnover basis.
Source: FWI. Read the full report here
Photo: Courtesy Tim Scrivener via Farmers Weekly