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Potato Production North-western-Europe up 13.5 percent compared to last year

Potato Harvest at Wortley and Sons in Norfolk, United Kingdom (Courtesy: Twitter / Morrisons)

For the current European potato harvest, the North-western-European Potato Growers (NEPG) estimate the total potato production at 27.9 million tons for the five NEPG countries (Belgium, Germany, France, The Netherlands and Great Britain). The estimate is based on sampling and data from the first actual harvests.

Acreage has increased 4.6 percent compared to last year, while the average yield per hectare is estimated at 48.2 ton/ha. This 2.9% higher than the 5-year average. The NEPG reports this is based on tests and estimates from the various countries and that the final figures may deviate from this yield estimate.

The total potato production is up 11.5 % compared to the 5-year average and 13.5 % higher than the total yield last year, but still below the record harvest in 2014 of 28.5 million tonnes.

Despite the difficult start of this season, the potato crop has recovered well during the summer and the result is a high quality product. Some quality issues for potato variety Bintje (Secondary growth and Phytophthora) have been reported.

In the Netherlands there have also been reports of a too low specific gravity of the tubers (weight in water). This results in a low yield during processing, requiring more potatoes.

(Click voor vergrote versie)

NEPG estimates on September 15, 2017 for the EU5 potato production
(excluding seed potatoes and potatoes destined for the potato starch industry)

Increased Demand

The current (low) potato pricing indicates a high supply in the coming months. However, the NEPG emphasizes that a comparison with harvest 2014 is not entirely realistic.

Since 2014, the demand of the potato processing industry has increased with 1.5 million tonnes. On top of that, the export of processed product to countries outside the European Union has steadily increased in recent months, despite the increasing value of the Euro. This continues to stimulate the demand of raw materials.

In the Netherlands and Germany the NEPG expect more potatoes to be used for feed and for the production of potato starch. Many growers will opt to not store potato lots of a lower quality. Furthermore, experience has taught that in years with very low prices potatoes are rejected more easily and that the amount of tarra is typically higher.

Finally, the North-western European potato growers stress that the crop still has to be harvested!

The North-western European Potato Growers expect to publish the final results by the end of October.