Great Britain’s grower-held potato stocks at the end of November 2018 stood at 2.97 million tonnes – the lowest during this point in the season since 2016/17.
Releasing its latest batch of industry statistics, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board estimated that ‘drawdown’, the rate at which potatoes are removed from store, is lower than recent years at 39%, three percentage points below the five-year average.
AHDB market intelligence analyst, Aidan Wright, said that there were signs of increased industry collaboration to make best use of the latest small harvest.
“In contrast to 2018, the 2017 crop was a large one, so in September there were still plenty of potatoes in store in good condition that could be used by some sectors to bolster this season’s supplies,” noted Mr Wright. “Packhouses and processors have also altered specifications to reduce waste, in order to get the most out of this season’s crop.
“In addition, many growers delayed harvesting to allow crops to bulk following the drought during the summer, reducing the time prior to November that crops were marketed.”