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Contract trade is dominating UK potato markets

Potato markets are being dominated by contract trade with slow demand for free-buy supplies, according to Amber Cottingham, analyst at AHDB.

Potatoes were currently in a ‘buyers’ market’, with buyers looking to keep prices as low as possible.
“They are not terrible, but are lower than they have been for the last couple of seasons when buyers have had to pay a lot more," she said.
“Where possible, they are really trying to keep the price as low as they can. It is a buyers’ market.”
In England, contract trade continued to dominate the packing market, with minimal free-buy demand reported.
Most trade in Scotland was also under contract with free-buy supply remaining limited. Any surplus from contracted crops which yielded higher than expected were being moved as quickly as possible to prevent the need to store.
Trade continued to be slow in the bag market. However, it was anticipated to increase as the season progressed into autumn, with colder conditions expected to increase bag market sales.
Quality has been variable between regions, with rain across much of Great Britain delaying harvest.
Ms Cottingham said: “There is quite a mix within the areas and the East is looking worst for scab.”
Yields in the East have been reported at above average, but quality has been variable, dependant on soil.
In the West, quality was better than expected, with respectable yields, but reports said scab was widely seen on multiple varieties.
In the South, scab was less prevalent than feared, with salad varieties faring well.
Crops were continuing to be burned off in Scotland, with reports of excellent quality and above average yields. While wetter weather has helped control scab, high levels of blackleg have been reported.

Publication date: 9/18/2017


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