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2015 production down year-on-year across all NEPG countries

Publication Date: 
22 December 2015

Following receipt of updated harvest information for all countries, the NEPG* has announced production (excluding seed and starch) for the group of 25.314Mt. This is 11.2% less than last season and similar to the 5 year average. Although less, supplies are still expected to be sufficient for market demand, and may allow new export opportunities to be taken. However, the weather may become a challenge as mild temperatures impact on ambient stored stocks.

All NEPG countries saw reductions in planted area and production this year, and all but GB saw a reduction in yield. GB yields were at a record high of 50.1t/ha, 9% above the 5 year average. However, an 8% reduction in planted area means that production was still lower than last season. Read the official GB production estimate release here.

This drop in NEPG production compared to the large 2014 crop is not necessarily worrisome, as the harvest amount seems to be in balance with the actual market situation. Demand is generally steady, and although supplies are lower than last season, they are still ample which could help the NEPG take advantage of export opportunities during the season. Germany in particular have reported that their total October exports were up 10% on the same month last year, according to AMI, with the bulk being processing potatoes going to Benelux**. In contrast, though, the Netherlands have experienced 11% lower fresh exports (including starch) up to November this season when compared to the same period last season, according to the NAO.

One thing that might affect supplies later on is that the mild winter temperatures so far are causing some problems with breakdown, particularly for ambient stored crops across the NEPG. Reports from France and Belgium mention issues with Bintje, Fontane, and Innovator in particular. Though most ambient stocks in Germany remain in good quality so far, these stores are reported to be being rapidly unloaded, while growers with cold stored stocks are prepared to hold on. There is some speculation that good quality stocks could become scarce in Germany by the spring. However, in general the quality of the stored crop is good.

Alongside lower production and export figures, processing usage in the Netherlands has been 10% down in July-October compared to last year, according to NAO data. However, there is generally positive sentiment regarding the processing rate in the Netherlands as well as Belgium and Germany, which suggests there is no cause for concern.

*NEPG = North-Western European Potato Growers, comprising Great Britain, France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

**Benelux = Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg

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