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Drought might impact European potato production more than slightly increased acreage

Extreme drought might impact European Potato crop growing on a slightly increased acreage

Fairfields Farm crisps' owner Robert Strathern in his potato field. The crop is stressed as a result of a prolonged period of hot weather with no rain (Courtesy: Robert Strathern)

July 11, 2018
Based upon the latest NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) calculations the consumption potato area in the combined 5 North-Western European countries is 595.587 ha, an increase of 1% compared to last season.

The British area is still based on a 5 years average.

Based upon the actual market experience and good balance between supply and demand the North-Western European Potato Growers suggest this is likely to result in an oversupply situation in the NEPG region.

The drought

For the final harvest 2018 the yields will have much more impact than the planted area. It is extremely dry in the NEPG countries and there are areas where the crop starts suffering from lack of water. Based upon the weather forecast rain is not expected on the short term. Poland also reports dry conditions.

The NEPG however stresses that it is still too early to make yield estimations during the first half of July.

Early processing harvest in mainland NEPG countries

On the mainland NEPG countries, first trial digs for early processing crop indicated average yields and dry matter, especially on the irrigated fields. For the main crop there is a wide spread in growing performance reported between the individual plants in one field.

By mid-July the early processing harvest starts in The Rhineland in Germany, followed by the early area in Flanders (Belgium). In Flanders 2.670 ha less early processing area has been planted, in Germany the area remains the same.


In most the mainland NEPG countries (Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France), quite a few reports emerged the last weeks on emergence problems. One has to remember that part of the seed crop from Dunkirk in France to Rüggen in Germany on the Baltic was harvested late because of very heavy rainfall in late August and September.

The consequences: quality problems in the seed which only started to show in May this year after planting. Seed problems, coupled with some erosion and mud streams in May, and now drought with either irrigation restrictions and / or problems of not being able to irrigate as much as one wants, could have a real influence on the final harvest.

End of the old season

In all NEPG countries there is still more in stock than will be utilized. In mainland NEPG countries Bintje was especially hard to sell this season and the NEPG expects that the area planted for Bintje will continue to reduce.

In the meantime, prices for old good frying Fontane and other good frying varieties are going up in various NEPG countries.
Companies in this Article
Association of potato growers in Great Britain, Belgium, The Netherlands, France and Germany.