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Latest potato stocks figures down almost a quarter on last year

11 March 2019

The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board’s (AHDB) latest estimates on potato stock levels held by British growers are 24% down on previous years’ figures at 1.84Mt; 13% down on the five year average.

The estimates show stock levels for the 2018/19 season to be higher than at the same point in 2012 but only slightly lower than 2016; another tight year for the British potato supply.

Sara Maslowski, Senior Analyst at AHDB said:

“Given the poor growing season in 2018 these figures are hardly surprising, particularly given the contrast with previous years’ harvest.”

Drawdown figures

Alongside the figures on stock levels, data on ‘drawdown’ (the rate at which stocks are removed from storage) show a high number of potato stocks removed from growers’ stores during December and January, with 1.13Mt released from farms during this period.

Sara said:

“The unseasonal weather this winter has meant that some growers struggled with ambient storage due to the higher than usual temperatures. This meant that these stores were cleared earlier than planned.

The rate of drawdown seen this year contrasts with the lower rate observed between harvest and the end of November last year. This was due to the extended use of the crop from the good growing season in 2017”

Data from the report published by AHDB’s Market Intelligence team come from surveys of growers’ stocks at the end of January 2019. The data do not include stocks held by purchasers. A regional breakdown of the figures throughout the UK will be made available next week.

AHDB recently recognised the regulatory challenges store managers are currently facing, by releasing plans to support them with a fund of £800,000.​

There is more information on this and previous season’s stock levels at AHDB’s Potato Data Centre.

*Correction: this press release has been changed to include an amended table showing the correct End-Jan stocks figures for 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2015/16. As a result of the incorrect average, previously it was stated that this year’s figure was 11% down on the five year average when the actual figure is 13%.

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