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UK Harvest Progress Continues at a Variable Rate

Soil moisture and skin set were the key determinants to lifting progress this week. In regions which had some rainfall, lifting progressed well with ideal conditions. However, on drier soils, increased bruising of samples has been reported with some opting to delay lifting and wait for some rain. Delayed skin-set is also postponing lifting for some, while mixed skin sets have been reported from the same lift. Cooler conditions on fields has helped to remove field heat, which has aided movement to stores.

In the East, lifting is now progressing in earnest across the region, although at mixed rates. Areas which have received some rainfall to moisten the soil have progressed at a faster rate, while others in areas which have remained dry are deciding to postpone lifting to minimize bruising. Meanwhile, other growers were holding off lifting, waiting for skin set. Reports of secondary growth continue in some unirrigated fields.

In the West, conditions were reported to be more favourable for lifting than in the East, with higher soil moisture levels. Lower temperatures reported this week have also helped to reduce crop temperature, enabling for more efficient transfer from field to store. Lifted crop continues to be reported to be of smaller size and yields than average.

In the South, mixed lifting conditions have been reported, dependent on regional rainfall patterns. Soils with increased moisture are allowing lifting to progress, while others remain too dry causing a high bruise risk, leading some to halt progress. Skin set is reported to be mixed, with loose and set skin reported from the same lift.

In Scotland, dry conditions and overdue skin set have been reported by some delaying lifting. Following a dry September, there are worries of excessive bruising to crops if lifted in dry soil. There are some reports of a reduced baker fraction this year, although early indications suggest yields to be only marginally down from average.

Source: AHDB Potato Weekly

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