The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) have estimated that the upcoming area for consumption potatoes in 2019 will increase between one and two per cent toward almost 604,000 hectares in the five main production countries, driven by estimated increase in the area on the mainland. This is the largest area for more than ten years.
This is a first estimation: planting for main crop is only starting and final figures will come during June. The growth of the area is, however, in line with the increasing demand, coming mainly from the processing industry. The growth could have been more important on the mainland without seed potato availability issues. Quality and tuber sizes for seed potatoes planted in 2019 could be a challenge to look at.
Yield is more important than acreage for the harvest
Based upon experience, NEPG stresses yield per hectare rather than acreage is more important for the final harvest quantity. Planting for early processing potatoes has started on schedule. The main crop will be planted in April and up to May depending on the weather conditions.
In most NEPG countries, water reserves have not been totally replenished, and if it doesn’t rain substantially in the coming weeks, the crop will start a third year with a rainfall deficit in some NEPG countries.
The upcoming 2019/20 season will be a long supply season as there will likely be no carry over from this actual season. Some factories will close longer and there will be pressure upon an early harvest by the supply chain.
Stocks in the five countries are much lower than the five-year average which may support the price. The difference could be made by the date of arrival of earlies.
NEPG countries are testing alternatives for CIPC
By the summer of 2020, the anti-sprouting CIPC may not be permitted. This will present a big challenge for the whole supply chain as there are—in the big five—more than 20 million tons stored for processing, export and table potatoes, yearly. Various test results for alternatives are being exchanged by the NEPG countries. A temporary RML has been asked for by the sector to be able to use the storages in the coming years.