Australia: Potato prices ease as supply recovers thanks to ‘close to perfect’ summer conditions

Thorpdale potato farmer Alan Westbury shows off some new season potatoes.Flooding in South Australia, western Victoria, Tasmania and southern New South Wales delayed plantings and damaged crops last year. The subsequent national supply shortage caused potatoes to rise to a record wholesale price of $1,500 a tonne for growers in Queensland. AUSVEG spokesman Shaun Lindhe said the supply shortage particularly pushed up prices for brushed potatoes, and affected quality. “But in saying that, there were some farmers who were not affected by floods who were able to reduce some of the impact on supply,” he said. “And because of that [those farmers] were able to get quite good prices.” Thorpdale potato farmer Alan Westbury had some minor issues with heavy spring rainfall affecting his crop last year. But Mr Westbury said the summer weather conditions had been close to perfect. He began harvest in the first week of January and said he was pleased with its progression. “The quality of the potatoes is very good,” he said. “Fortunately after the wet start with planting it turned out to be very dry, very hot and the quality therefore is very good.” More