Aidan Wright, Analyst at AHDB Potatoes in the UK reports that GB grower-held potato stocks at the end of March 2019 are estimated at 0.98Mt, a fall of 26% (353Kt) on last year and 13% (148kt) below the five season average (2013-2018).
Despite a smaller crop this season, stocks remain higher than at the same point in 2012/13 (+162Kt) and are only marginally below stock levels in both 2013/14 (-10Kt) and 2015/16 (-6Kt).
The end of March estimate suggests that an additional 0.86Mt of crop was released from grower ownership since the last estimate. This comes in at 13% below the five season average (2013-2018) and is the lowest drawdown since 2012/13.
For processing stocks, drawdown has returned closer to normal following increased movement earlier in the year as growers moved at risk stocks. Processing stocks stood at c.316Kt, 12Kt below stocks in 2016/17 another year of tight supply. This comes in at 17% below average (2015-2018) and a 25% reduction on the year.
Wright concludes that despite stocks remaining below average the careful management and relaxing of specifications this season has limited some of the impact from this season’s low production. With the likelihood of significant carryover to be limited to the packing sector, the availability of the early crop will be the key watch point as the new season approaches.
At this point, planting is progressing at pace and conditions appear good across the majority of GB. However, water availability remains a concern for some regions moving forward.
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