Crop Progress on the Farm

July 1, 2015 Posted by David Linton

potato field

It finally looks like summer is arriving for us in the North West next week and about time too! Our potato crops have been slow to get off the mark this year, hampered by low soil temperatures and high winds. 

Canopy cover is still not what we’d like to see at this time of year and some crops look a little spindly and thin, but the recent warm weather has enabled the plants to really start motoring now.

Relatively high soil moisture content around us has meant that scab control has been maintained with a minimum of irrigation which helps to keep the costs down, although this may not be replicated across the Pennines.

Here’s the comparison from last year to now









potato field

Overall, it looks like this coming season will be a more fruitful one for growers with early season prices already higher than at this point last year. With crops around 2 to 3 weeks behind last year, it is likely that stronger prices will remain with us for the next couple of months.

The AHDB Potatoes planted area estimate is likely to be released in the next few weeks and my thoughts are that it will show a modest decrease in area by perhaps as much as 5%, but what effect this will have on prices is still unclear given that the crop still has plenty of growing to do. Indications are though that there will be less potatoes around this coming season so it remains to be seen what choices growers will make in marketing their crop.

Upward price pressure caused by shortening of supply for in-demand specs such as Maris Piper for both packing and processing, good quality bakers and also chipping potatoes. 2015 crop is 2-3 weeks later than last year and yields are fairly low meaning that the new crop is not dragging down the old crop prices as happened last year.










Click on the graph to open enlarged PDF.

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