Potato prices: Weather affecting lifting…yields down 15%

This week the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Potato Market Update stated that lifting progress is at approximately 50%. Many growers have a lot of their crops lifted, while some have large amounts still to do.

Donegal is one region which is struggling to lift as soil moisture levels are very high.

As digging continues, yield estimates are becoming clearer and are expected to be back by approximately 15%.

Markets are uncertain as the food-service sector is now being impacted by the six-week lockdown.

Potato prices

Average ex-farm potato prices reported to the IFA this week saw prices remain largely unchanged from last week. The average price of a bag of Roosters (10kg) went down from €4.50 to €4.20.

Average ex-farm potato prices reported to the IFA on October 21:
  • Rooster box (New season) – €380;
  • Rooster 10kg bag (New season) – €4.20;
  • New-season Queens 10kg bag – €6;
  • New-season Kerr Pinks – €5.50.

The UK

Lifting has progressed well in the UK as drier weather made things easier. As markets are depressed many potato crops are being lifted straight into stores.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has announced the estimated area planted to potatoes in 2020 in Great Britain. Approximately 117,470ha of potatoes were planted. This is a decrease of 2.3% on last year and the biggest decrease came in the midlands and the north-west.

Europe

Rain has also slowed down lifting progress in Europe. However, farmers on lighter land have made some progress recently.

Excess stock in Europe is being used for animal feed and energy production.