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Potato production hits lowest level since 2012

11 December 2018

The total potato harvest is 13% down on the five-year average of 5.6m tonnes at 4.9m tonnes, according to the annual Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) estimate.

The relatively low production figure is a result of an estimated 4.4% drop in planted area, and a 12% drop in average yield.

The crop was heavily impacted by a combination of late planting and the prolonged hot and dry weather that stalled tuber growth in June and July.

The one area of Great Britain that avoided the effects of the summer heatwave was Scotland. Potatoes grown north of the border enjoyed a 3% increase in yield against last year to 49.2 tonnes per hectare (t/ha).

But the total production of potatoes in Scotland was still down, due to a decrease of 1.6Kha in planted area.

Average yields in England were 40.1t/ha, a 20% decrease from the 49.9t/ha seen last season.

Sector Strategy Director at AHDB Potatoes, Dr Rob Clayton, says the average yield decrease is the result of large variations from field to field.

“Growers were battling a shortage of water this year, as you can see on the AHDB weather hub, the combined June and July period was one of the driest on record. Fields that were irrigated will have enjoyed a reasonable crop, while in others yields were very low.”

Only 53% of the land in Great Britain planted with potatoes this year had access to irrigation, according to an AHDB estimate.

“We won’t run out of potatoes” continued Dr Clayton “we didn’t in 2012, and we won’t in 2018. But what consumers will notice is a wider range of shapes and sizes in the bag they bring home to cook with.

“These shapes and sizes are a normal part of any harvest, they’ll still taste great and will still contribute to the nation’s vitamin C and fibre intake.

“With fewer potatoes around this year supermarkets won’t be able to only choose from the ‘middle’ section of sizes – hence more variety in the bag.”

More statistics and analysis from this year’s harvest can be found here.

There has been positive news for those who enjoying eating potatoes, which can be found here

- Ends -

Notes to editors

AHDB is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. Our purpose is to inspire our farmers, growers and industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. We equip the industry with easy to use, practical know-how which they can apply straight away to make better decisions and improve their performance. Established in 2008 and classified as a Non-Departmental Public Body, it supports the following industries: meat and livestock (cattle, sheep and pigs) in England; horticulture, milk and potatoes in Great Britain; and cereals and oilseeds in the UK. AHDB’s remit covers 72 per cent of total UK agricultural output. Further information on AHDB can be found at www.ahdb.org.uk

Contact

For further information contact Jimmy Phillips Senior Marcomms Manager (AHDB Potatoes) on 024 7647 8933 or Jimmy.Phillips@ahdb.org.uk

@AHDB_Potatoes

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