British potato stocks are estimated to have fallen by almost a quarter on previous years.
At 1.84 million tonnes, this is 13 per cent down on the five-year average and 24 per cent down on last year’s figures, according to AHDB.
The estimates show stock levels for the 2018/19 season to be higher than at the same point in 2012 but only slightly lower than 2016, another tight year for British potato supply.
Sara Maslowski, senior analyst, AHDB says: “Given the poor growing season in 2018 these figures are hardly surprising, particularly given the contrast with previous years’ harvest.”
Drawdown data shows 1.13mt of potato stocks were removed from growers’ stores in December and January. Excluding last season, this is the highest rate since 2011/12.
Ms Maslowski says stores were cleared earlier than planned due to higher than usual temperatures leaving growers struggling with ambient storage.
The rate of drawdown seen this year contrasts with the lower rate observed between harvest and the end of November last year, due to the extended use of the crop from the good growing season in 2017.