Potato growers have paid heed to packers’ pleas to grow less this year, according to figures from AHDB Potatoes.
The first estimate of total potato plantings in Britain this year suggests plantings are down 6.6% on last year at 279,476 acres. The planted area in 2014 was 299,244 acres.
The data, which is based on feedback from nearly two thirds of all growers, was then combined with an average yield figure for the past five years to give a production estimate for harvest 2015.
According to calculations, a mean yield of 18 tonnes per acre applied to the estimated planted area could result in a production of 5.05million tonnes of tatties this year.
The estimate is 12% down on last year’s harvest of 5.74million tonnes and it would represent the lowest level since 2012 when 4.49million tonnes were harvested.
Earlier this year members of the Scottish potato sector gathered in Edinburgh to discuss the future of the sector.
The crisis meeting, organised by AHDB Potatoes and NFU Scotland, hoped to develop an action plan to help the sector which was struggling to cope with a flood of produce on the market and falling consumption.
No quick fix was found to solve the sector’s issues but at the time growers were being urged to cut back production by around 10% to prevent another glut in the market following this year’s harvest.
Although AHDB Potatoes’ figures are provisional – an updated estimate of planted area will be released at the end of August – they do point towards a balancing of the market which has been oversupplied in the past two years.