• Potato Crop Update September

Potato Crop Update September

Posted on 26/09/2013

After a long period of drought (a rainfall deficit of 250 mm at the start of September in Holland) last week the weather changed and the heavens opened. So much so, that parts of east Holland experienced crop damage.

For some mid-early and later ripening varieties, the rains have come too late but other varieties could still result in growth and increasing yields. The next two weeks will prove whether yield curves will increase any further. From experience, we know that potato crops can be surprising towards the end of the growing season.

Until last week, test harvestings showed much lower yield figures compared to the averages over the last four years, as well as smaller than average sized tubers, high-dry matters and slow yields. This was all caused by a late start to the growing season; cold temperatures in spring followed by dry periods throughout the summer.

Recent years have shown that import demand for fresh potatoes can heavily influence the potato market. Last year crops were lower than average, in particular the UK crop was 1 million tonnes less, yet the continuous demand for potatoes was high - especially in the UK, Holland, Belgium and France, resulting in an inflation of potato prices.

Today, exports of fresh potatoes are moderate and potato prices are marginally lower than last year during the same period. But, based on the information we have available on area and yield figures for the 2013 crop, it is most likely prices will again exceed the average.

In a few weeks time, farmers will start harvesting the main crop, ready for storage and the weather conditions of the coming weeks will determine the final yield. According to a recently published report from RABOBANK Holland, higher potato prices are predicted in north-western Europe for the next 5 years.