Potato prices: Unchanged, but demand expected to increase

Potato prices remained unchanged according to the latest Potato Market Update released by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) on June 17.

Retail trade remains strong and “the peeling market is beginning to show some life”.

Demand is also expected to pick up from the food-service sector as restaurants and bars serving food re-open on June 29.

Average ex-farm potato prices reported to the IFA and published on June 17 are detailed below.

Average ex-farm potato prices reported to the IFA:
  • Roosters box – €350;
  • Roosters 10kg bag – €3.50;
  • Whites box – €350;
  • Kerr Pinks 10kg bag – €4.50;
  • Golden Wonder 10kg bag – €5.50.

Early potatoes

Early potatoes are currently being lifted and yields are reported to be average. The season so far has been a difficult one as drought affected many crops across the country.

According to the report, the early market remains very strong. Prices are averaging €1,350/t. Queens started last week and most of the Homeguard crop is now gone and Premiers should be finished by the end of the month.

European report

Drought is also an issue in parts of Europe. However, the MARS Bulletin – a crop monitor published by the EU Commission – has forecast a 4.5% increase in European potato yields in comparison to the five-year average.

Potato area

At home, the Department of Agriculture released crop area figures from data obtained from Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications last week. The potato area has been relatively unchanged from 2019. The 2020 area is approximately 8,597ha.

Farmers had been dealing with drought conditions since planting and it is unclear what effect this will have on yield. As the area is the same as 2019, a hit on yield due to the drought could mean a shortage in supply, but only time will tell as irrigation has been a priority on many farms.