2016 UK potato production estimated down 5%
Average potato yields for GB are estimated at just under 45 tonnes/ha, down 8% on last year.
The planted area estimate for 2016 could be just over 116,000ha, up 4% on last year.
This year’s crop is the GB’s fourth-smallest potato crop on records going back to 1960. There have been many anecdotal reports of wastage, particularly due to growth cracks and greening, which have combined with lower gross yields to lead to the smaller crop.
However, the picture differs by market sector and is partially related to yield performance by region. For instance, Scottish yields are down less year-on-year compared to English yields and those sectors that Scotland specialises in (packing and seed) have seen production levels supported somewhat.
Nonetheless, this season’s overall drop in production comes following on from last year’s already low level, when tightness in supplies became evident later on in the season. This indicates that supply this season could be even tighter in many market sectors.
Note that the production estimate is based on information from 400 sample crops, with a sample area of 3,677 ha (3.3% of total area). ■