AgronomyCrop ProductionAustralia potato prices soar to record levels

Australia potato prices soar to record levels

-

Widespread flooding in Australia’s potato-growing regions has prompted record prices for far north Queensland growers who are long overdue for a pay rise.

But it may be a case of too little, too late for the once proud potato stronghold of the Atherton Tableland, 80 kilometres inland of Cairns, where only 27 farmers still grow spuds.

David Nix is one of them and he says growers are fetching the best prices in 60 years as a result of the failed autumn harvest in southern growing regions.

“We got up to $1,500 a ton for bulk Sebago potatoes which is absolutely unheard of. [The] normal price is about $400.

“Also Kipfler has been dire straits all year and they’ve reached $4,000 a ton.”

Nix said growers haven’t had it all their own way, with supply shortages making seed for planting very hard to come.

Yields have also been down after a very mild winter.

“Potatoes don’t like hot nights and we got a lot of hot nights through winter so even those who grew potatoes didn’t do all that well because they only got half a crop so nature can be very cruel,” Mr Nix said.

The contrast in fortunes could not be more stark for far north Queensland growers, who for years had felt the squeeze as southern states ramped up production and extended growing seasons.

“Even half a crop at four times the price is way better than a full crop at the cost of production ’cause that’s what it was at and there was no profit at all, didn’t matter how many potatoes you grew,” he said.

Nix, Horticulture Industry Australia’s Queensland representative for potatoes, said it would take at least a year for the market to correct itself as southern states struggled to achieve production.

“The crops are not performing so we’ll probably go into next year with a shortage but maybe not as short as this one.

“I think we’ll see at least another 12 months before this catches up.”

In the short-term, he said it augured well for Atherton Tableland growers still digging spuds in the next eight weeks or so.

Meanwhile, increased demand from processors Smiths and Arnotts would help make up for lost ground in the fresh potato market in the longer term, he said.

Source: ABC Rural

 

 

 

Trending This Week

Up to 68 Per Cent of Potato Seed Could be Infected With Verticillium

Let me throw a shocking number at you: 68 per cent. A recent scientific research paper stated that up to 68 per cent of...
Cell phone

There’s an App for That – Helping Culinarians Pick the Perfect Potato

0
I know not everyone agrees with my stance on the importance of varietal labeling. One thing I think we can all agree on is...

Tackling Moisture When it’s Too Much / Too Little / Too Late.

0
Moisture is the most universally challenging factor in potato production: there never seems to be the right amount at the right time. On May...

World Potato Congress: Confronting Climate Challenges and Cultivating a Sustainable Future

0
Adelaide is set to host the 12th World Potato Congress from June 23-26, 2024. This global event will bring together farmers, researchers, and industry...

Sam Gagnon is the Future of Potato Breeding

0
As the son of a potato breeder, Sam Gagnon decided he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. As a kid, Sam Gagnon would work...