Farming: Seed sales blow for potato crop

A fall in the volume of seed sales due to the closing of the European and Northern Irish markets after the Brexit transition ended, together with a lack of demand for packing varieties has led to a higher proportion of Scotland’s 2020 potato crop remaining on-farm.

Almost a quarter of the entire British potato crop still remains unmoved

The latest figures released by the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) have shown that almost a quarter of the entire GB crop still remains unmoved, a figure which is over 90,000 tonnes above the five year average.

Scottish stocks account for 33 per cent (396.9Kt) of what remained in grower ownership at the end of March. The figure is up 29 per cent on the same time last year and the AHDB said that throughout the season, movement from Scotland had been reported as “slow”:

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“However, in successive weeks there has been an uptick in demand for Scottish Maris Piper, as supplies have been depleted in England.”

A partial reason for the higher stocks in Scotland, was the country’s focus on seed sales:

“With domestic seed sales said to be slow earlier in the year, combined with an export ban to the EU since 1 January 2021, it is likely to add to higher stocks.”

Another reason for high stocks was the lack of local demand for packing material.

“Over 50 per cent of the 2020 Scottish planted area was destined for the packing market. Demand for Whites has been reportedly lacklustre most of this marketing year which could again, have led to increased on-farm stocks.”

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