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Hundreds of tons of potatoes go to waste after Australian trade restrictions

Staff Writer |
The repercussions of the tomato potato psyllid outbreak are taking shape in Western Australia, with seed potato growers starting to feed hundreds of tonnes of perfectly good produce to their cattle.

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With exports of WA potatoes and tomatoes still ground to a halt, and a fully supplied local market, seed potato producers have no home for their produce.

It has forced many growers, such as Albany's Trevor Barker, to dump their product. Barker has already fed 50 tonnes of his crop to the cows.

"If the border doesn't open we'll probably end up feeding out about 300 tonnes," he said.

In usual circumstances, the 300 tonnes of potato would have earned Barker about $200,000.

Perhaps the biggest worry for the industry at the moment is whether to plant for next year.

Moltoni said the consequences had also begun to extend further, into the ware (edible) potato industry, "We've seen the price fall considerably in the last few weeks," he said.

Potato Growers Association president Simon Moltoni said waste of ware potatoes could this year more than double, from 10 to 15 percent up to 50 percent.

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