Potato prices: Demand buoyant as weather delays harvesting

The busy season is underway for potato farmers, but weather is delaying progress. According to this week’s Potato Market Report published by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), demand remains buoyant as more new-season crop comes onto supermarket shelves.

The rain of the past few weeks has left ground in wet conditions. This is making harvesting difficult and delaying crops coming to the market.

Some crops of Queens remain in the ground due to wet conditions, while Kerr Pinks are now being lifted and making it to the supermarket shelves. Average prices for Kerr Pinks are €6.50 per 10kg bag.

As more product comes onto the market prices are falling.

Ex-farm potato prices as reported to the IFA on September 9:
  • Rooster box (New Season) – €425;
  • Rooster 10kg bag (New Season) – €5.50;
  • New Season Queens 10kg bag – €6;
  • New Season Kerr Pinks – €6.50.

The UK has seen drier weather this week and so farmers are making the most of the good conditions in fields harvesting and spraying crops in preparation for harvest. The IFA also reported that the UK has seen increased demand for potatoes since schools returned.

In Europe, yields are predicted to be average in France, Belgium and Holland. Tuber count is below average and dry matter content is reported to be high.

However, the report stated that demand from processors in Northern Europe and Germany could be one million tonnes lower than last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.