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Potato growers holding on to stock in hope of higher prices

The consultation opens on August 19.
The consultation opens on August 19.

Potato growers are holding onto stock in store in the hope of further price increases, according to AHDB Potatoes.

Figures from the industry levy body reveal GB potato stocks at the end of January were an estimated 1.9million tonnes.

This is similar to the same point in the season last year despite yields from harvest 2016 being at a four-year low.

AHDB said the latest data suggested the drawdown of stocks between the end of November 2016 and the end of January this year was 965,000 tonnes.

This compares to a drawdown of 1.243million tonnes in the same period the year before – a drop of 278,000 tonnes.

AHDB analyst Amber Cottingham said pricing could be the reason behind farmers selling less potatoes.

“Ex-farm free-buy prices this season are at the second highest level this century, behind only 2012 and this has had an impact on some markets. Reports suggest that there has been some reluctance from growers to load at market values, as well as purchasers unwilling to raise free-buy prices, causing somewhat of a stalemate between the two,” said Ms Cottingham.

“It is important to remember that although drawdown has slowed there are only a finite amount of potatoes available in this, low production, season.”

She said stock results for tatties in store at the end of March – due out in May – would provide further insight into grower habits.

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