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Potato acreage in North-western Europe to grow between 1 and 2 percent, NEPG estimates

Potato yield, not the area determines the final potato production. This statement was proven true with harvest 2018, as extreme heat and drought negatively impacted yields in many areas in North-western Europe (Courtesy: Arjen de Vos)

Earlier this month, the North-Western European Potato Growers provided a first estimate of the 2019 potato acreage in North-western Europe.

Growth potato area in line with demand

The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) have estimated that the upcoming area for consumption potatoes in 2019 will increase between 1 and 2 % towards almost 604.000 ha in the 5 main production countries, driven by estimated increase in the area on the mainland.

This is the largest area for more than ten years.

This is a first estimation: planting for main crop is only starting and final figures will come during June. The growth of the area is however in line with the increasing demand, coming mainly from the processing industry. The growth could have been more important on the mainland with no availability problem for seeds.

Quality and tuber sizes for the seeds planted in 2019 can be a challenge to look at.

The yields, not the area makes the final harvest

Based upon their experience the NEPG stresses that the yields and not the area will make the final harvest quantity. The plantings for the early processing potatoes have started on schedule. The main crop will be planted in April up to May depending on the weather conditions.

In most NEPG countries, water reserves have not been totally replenished, and if it doesn’t rain substantially in the coming weeks, the crop will start a 3rd year with a rainfall deficit in some NEPG countries.

The upcoming season 2019/20 will be a long supply season as there will likely be no carry over from this actual season. Some factories will close longer and there will be pressure upon an early harvest by the supply chain.

The stocks in the 5 countries are much lower than the 5 years average which may support the price. The difference could be made by the date of arrival of earlies.

NEPG countries are testing alternatives for CIPC

By the summer of 2020 the anti-sprouting CIPC could be not permitted any more. A big challenge for the whole supply chain as there are in the big 5 yearly more than 20 million tons stored for processing, export and table potatoes.

The various tests results for alternatives are exchanged by the NEPG countries. A temporary RML is asked by the sector to be able using the storages in the coming years.