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NEPG potato output forecast higher in 2017/18

Publication Date: 
22 September 2017

Amber Cottingham, Analyst, amber.cottingham@ahdb.org.uk, 02476 478 698

Based upon recent trial digs and average yields in the five NEPG countries (North-Western European Potato Growers) the organisation forecasts production at 27.9Mt for 2017/18, up 14% on the year. This excludes potatoes for seed and starch. The estimate is based upon an increase in planted area of 4.6% compared with last year and an average yield of 48.2t/ha, which is 2.9% above the five year average. The NEPG group emphasised that this is based on recent trial digs and average yields, not the final harvest which is still to come.

This estimated production level is 11.5% higher than the five year average, however lower than the 2014 harvest of 28Mt. Despite the difficult growing conditions at the start of the season, the crop has recovered somewhat during the summer and quality was reported to be good in many countries. Some quality problems were reported for Bintje, such as secondary growth and late blight; moreover, the actual dry matter content in The Netherlands is reported as too low. The lower dry matter will lead to declines in processing output, so more potatoes will likely be needed to produce the same amount of end product.

Higher demand

The current low price levels across much of the NEPG region also indicates an increased potato supply for the season. However, the NEPG group has indicated that the comparison with 2014 is not realistic as the demand for processing potatoes has increased by approximately 1.5Mt and the export of ready potato products outside the EU continues to increase. This is in spite of the stronger euro, which is still the driver of more demand for raw material. According to the NEPG group, more potatoes in The Netherlands and Germany will likely flow in to the starch processing and cattle feed markets after harvest as many growers do not plan to store too much of the cheaper and lower quality potatoes. It is also the experience that in years of extreme low prices potatoes flow easier into waste than if the prices are high.

The NEPG group emphasises that this is not the final harvest, safely in the stores and the organisation will publish final figures later in the season.

 

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