In the meantime, Belgium, the North of France and the south of
Holland suffered from drought and high temperatures early June, and
the outlook for crop 2017 was not prosperous at all.
Due to the dry conditions, the crop needed to search for water and developed a good root system.
In the first half of June the futures market for April 2018 increased and touched levels around €200 per ton. With the first precipitation in the second half of June, the futures market started to fall back to levels around today's €80.00 per ton.
With a rain shower every now and then and moderate temperatures without extreme heat, the growing conditions were optimal. The crops catched up from the arisen backlog situation and trail harvest figures from August and September started to show above average yields. For the second year in succession, the EU-5 acreage increased. Due to very moderate growing conditions last year, the 2016 EU-5 production stayed behind from the previous year.
This year, prosperous growing conditions in July, August and September seem to result in above average yields with an estimated EU-5 production around 27 till 28 mio tons. The situation however is not similar in all EU-5 countries, where yields are estimated between 'just below average' till 'above average'.
Although the processing capacity has increased tremendously in North Western Europe over the last few years, actual potato prices and market perceptions seem to reflect an imbalance between supply and demand.
With another three till four weeks ahead before the harvesting of the maincrop starts, we have to wait and see how the crops will ripen under today's relatively wet conditions and how this will this affect dry matter contents and the quality of the crop.
Jan Willem Peters