Consumption and demand continue to return to pre-pandemic levels with the current cost of living crisis influencing consumption also, according to the Irish Farmers Association’s (IFA) weekly potato market report.
According to IFA, growers in Ireland continue to prepare for harvest and some growers in the south-east are now lifting crops. Recent rainfall has aided harvesting conditions. Reports from growers remain consistent that yields are much lower than last year.
As harvest commences, growers are very concerned about energy costs for storing crops this season. Growers must be compensated for storing potatoes immediately, IFA says in its report.
Across Europe, IFA reports that stability in the market is being maintained by exporters looking to supply Spain, Italy and Eastern Europe for fresh consumption and frying varieties. Quality is reported to be good but further estimates this week of total crop production include the latest from Belgium, which shows current yield curves between 15 and 25% below the long-term average.
Crops are not handling the dry conditions well, with lower tuber size and very high dry matter. In France, government estimates put the reduction in total crop at 10%, whereas industry estimates are closer to 20%.
In the U.K., IFA reports that sellers report good movement of whites this week, both of new crop and remaining old crop. Unirrigated crops of all varieties in all areas are showing a number of quality issues including bruising but also “internals”, skin quality and early dormancy break.
Yields of maincrop crispers in the U.K. are initially being estimated to be approximately “possibly 20%” down compared to last year, but the increase in dry matter levels this year could go a long way to compensate for the shortfall.