Potato yields are looking better in the UK than elsewhere in north-west Europe, where it is still too dry to lift crops, according to a report published by Farmers Weekly.
According to the report, the potato crop is forecast to be 3% larger than average in north-west Europe, despite extreme summer weather pushing the average yield down 2.4t/ha below the five-year mean.
This extra output is due to record high potato plantings across the five major potato growing countries in north-west Europe – namely the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The North-western European Potato Growers Foundation (NEPG) estimates that the potato harvest across these countries will be between 27-27.3m tonnes, which is 12% more than last year’s drought-hit season.
Strong prices caused by last year’s shortages encouraged more plantings in all NEPG countries resulting in a record area of more than 611,190ha. France saw the largest growth, 14% above the five-yearly average.
However, while the UK saw a marginal increase of 1% over last year, the AHDB points out that the current 118,950ha potato area is still one of the smallest on record.