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GB end-November potato stocks at four year low

Publication Date: 
13 January 2017

Sara Maslowski, Senior Analyst, sara.maslowski@ahdb.org.uk, 02476 478 953

GB potato stock levels at the end of November are estimated at 2.9Mt, the lowest level for this point in the season since 2012/13. With production estimated down 5%, also a four year low at 5.22Mt, the lower level of stocks comes as no surprise.  

The latest estimate is based on AHDB survey data received by the end of November 2016, covers grower’s stocks only and does not include stocks held by purchasers. Furthermore, when considering comparisons, it is worth being aware that the error margin for the estimate is approximately +/- 200Kt.

The story so far

Figure 1 shows the estimated GB end-November stocks as a proportion of production. The data shows that just over half of production is estimated to be held in growers’ stores, implying that just under half of production was moved off farm between harvest and the end of November. This is a higher level than for the past four years, with a larger proportion of total production utilised at this point in the season reinforcing the tight supply situation. However, it’s worth noting that, according to our estimates, in tonnage terms the amount of GB potatoes moved off farm between harvest and the end of November has been relatively stable for the past four years, at around the 2.3Mt mark. So although production is lower than it has been since 2012/13, and despite reports that many growers have been holding onto stocks encouraged by higher prices, our data suggests that supplies have moved off farm at a similar rate to recent years.

Concluding comments

With much of the season still to come it is yet to be seen what impact the tighter supply situation will have on movement of GB supply over the coming weeks. Indeed it will be interesting to see how this will affect prices, already at their highest level for this point in the season since 2012. Our next storage survey estimating the level of grower stocks at the end of January will give us more insight as to how the season is panning out. Look out for this in mid-March.

 

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