Tight supplies of last year’s potato crop and delays in planting this year’s are factors behind the AHDB Weekly Average Price Survey (WAPS) price being the highest ever recorded at this point in the season.
The overall weekly average price, which includes free-buy and contract trade, was £188.72 for the week to August 5.
Supplies of the 2015 potato crop were tight, causing steeply rising prices in May and June, according to AHDB analyst, Arthur Marshall. “This was reflected in prices for the early crop for 2016.
“Regarding early crop, there were reports the weather was difficult, with wet fields and yields not always achieving what growers wanted them to achieve. The pace of planting was slow, about two weeks behind, which fed into development of the new crop, leading to it being behind and affecting the amount coming out of the ground.”
Looking ahead, there is still a long way to go before yields can be predicted for main crop, he said. “Total GB plantings are up 4% on last year but last year was a record low and this year is still the second lowest area recorded. Last year we had record yields which supported production. This year the increased area could be offset by yields. It could go either way.”
The WAPS has been conducted since 2000.