The extreme weather this season sparked interesting discussions at the James Hutton Institute’s Potatoes in Practice.
Morley Benson, Field Sales Manager at Certis, explains that although the dry and hot weather is likely to have a negative impact on potato yields, the anticipated positive impact on prices offers opportunities to those not locked into contracts.
“The AHDB has estimated a three percent reduction in overall acreage of potatoes across the country, and with 25 to 35 percent reduction in yield expected, it looks like there will be a shortage of potatoes this year,” he says.
“Processors and packers discussed how they will manage to source the amount of product they require, and suggested that specifications may be relaxed to open up the market.”
Morley also explains that medium term potato prospects were dominated by Brexit. “We have a strong potato market, but we still rely on imports to supplement UK demand,” he says.
“There is a distinct possibility that after Brexit, tariffs imposed will increase the price of imports, subsequently making UK crops much more competitive.
“This offers an opportunity for large scale UK growers to take over this part of the market and grow more crop.”
Morley explains because of this, maintaining quality will become even more important.
“Extra attention to detail will be needed this harvest and to ensure crops maintain quality in store to meet end market requirements and make the most of increased prices and new market opportunities.”