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NEPG 2016 potato production estimated down 3%

Publication Date: 
2 December 2016

Amber Cottingham, Analyst, amber.cottingham@ahdb.org.uk, 02476 478698

After a challenging growing season for many of the NEPG* countries, production (less potatoes for seed and starch) has been estimated at 24.55 million tonnes. This is 3% down on the previous season despite bigger planted areas for all of the NEPG countries, amounting to a total increase of 4.8%.

Belgium, whose area increase was the greatest at 14.1%, lost area early on in the growing season to flooding, and subsequently saw a 1.5% decrease in production. The Netherlands experienced the largest decrease in production of the NEPG countries, down nearly 12% year-on-year, despite having increased their planted area by 1.3%.

Much of the decrease in production can be attributed to lower average yields, down 7.5% year-on-year to just under 45t/ha. Again, Belgium and the Netherlands have seen the largest yield decreases, down 13.7% and 12.8% respectively and the lowest for either of these countries since 2006.

Reduced yields is largely a result of variations in weather this season for many. Heavy rains and widespread flooding affected Belgium and the Netherlands particularly early on in the season. This was followed by heatwave conditions on the continent later, which prevented crops from bulking. In countries like Belgium, where irrigation isn’t widespread, these high temperatures had the largest impact. The dry conditions also caused delays in harvesting as the ground was too hard to lift from, without causing damage to tubers. 

Concluding comments

Yields are down across all five NEPG countries this year and despite an increased area, this has bought the production total down to below 25 million tonnes, a 3% decline on the previous year. This comes in a year when planted area increased for many, as processors on the continent upped their processing capacity. This will likely cause an increased uptake in crop utilisation, where possible, and significant tightness in supply for the rest of the season to come.

*North-west European Potato Growers (GB, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands)

Note: These figures do not account for a small revision to last year's GB data. Nevertheless, this does not impact the trends.

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