Potato Planting Up a Bit in Northwest Europe, Says NEPG
The Northwestern European Potato Growers (NEPG) foundation estimates that farmers in the region’s five leading potato production countries will plant 0.4% more tubers in 2018 than last year. Actually stocks on hand are still high, however, due to late plantings and expected later arrival of the early varieties.
The NEPG anticipates a longer supply season for the processing industry than usual. The situation for the fresh table potato segment should be the same.
It is expected that the market will be strongly divided in the coming months. On one hand, better quality against a higher price; on the other hand, lower quality against a lower price level, where there is almost no demand at the moment. The NEPG hopes that there will be enough potatoes with good frying qualities available at the end of the season.
All NEPG countries report significant delays in planting. On the continent almost all potatoes have been planted by now. However, in Great Britain only half had been realized during the first week of May. More hectares have been planted in France, Belgium and Germany, while in the Netherlands the area under cultivation has been reduced by 2.5%.
Great Britain has no estimation available at the moment, so the five-year average has been used to calculate the area planted. In total 0.4% more than last year has been planted. However, the amounts to 6.7% more compared to the five-year average, which is not in line with the growing demand from the processing industry, according the NEPG.
The availability of the seed potatoes also encouraged the hectare area increase, as well as the higher demand for contracts by processors and lack of alternatives for growers as prices for sugar beets and wheat are low.
According to these estimations 585,608 hectares of consumption potatoes will be planted. In several countries there is a trend from growing fresh table toward growing for the processing sector [which is dominated by production of frozen french fries and specialty items] with the higher yield varieties. Based on five-year average yields, the harvest would be four percent lower than this potato season.
There is also a trend to plant more potatoes for the starch industry in Germany, France and the Netherlands. These figures are not included in the NEPG estimations.
EU Top 5 Consumption Potato Producing Country Statistics
(excluding seed potatoes and tubers crushed for starch)