British potato stock levels down 13 percent after extreme weather

Estimates show grower held stocks were 0.98Mt at the end of March, 26 percent down on the previous year
Estimates show grower held stocks were 0.98Mt at the end of March, 26 percent down on the previous year

Latest estimates show British potato stock levels were down 13 percent on the five-year average following a tough growing season.

Growers faced an uphill challenge with the extreme weather experienced at the start of 2018, followed by a prolonged dry spell over the summer.

Levels were, however, comparable to other tight supply seasons, for example they are only slightly lower than at the same point in 2013/14 and 2015/16, while higher than 2012/13.

Estimates show grower held stocks were 0.98Mt at the end of March, 26 percent down on the previous year.



Scotland, meanwhile, continued to account for a large proportion of total stocks, with just over a third (34%, c.334Kt) estimated to be held by Scottish growers.

Packing supplies have helped support the overall figure. Despite supplies for the packing market being down 17 per cent on the previous year, this was still slightly more than the three-year average.



Just under half (42%) of the crop still held by growers is intended for the packing market - 6 percentage points higher than the three year average for this point in the season.

AHDB Analyst Aidan Wright, said as the sector moves into the new season, all eyes will be on the early crop.

“Careful management as well as a relaxing of specifications by buyers mitigated some of the impact of the season’s low production. However, this still means that British potato stocks are down following the smaller crop from 2018,” he said.

“Thanks to the clement weather experienced so far planting is progressing well and conditions are looking good across the country, although the general lack of rainfall is an ongoing concern for some regions.”