This year's Spanish potato season is almost finished and will come to an end with a 15 to 20% lower yield than in 2017, reports the head of the FEPEX potato committee, Jose Ramón Aguado. In France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands there will also be 20% declines in the harvest and the total volume won't reach 20 million tons, according to an estimate of the NEPG (North Western European Potato Growers).
According to Aguado, the decline in the Spanish production is mainly due to the weather conditions. The spring was too wet, which took a negative toll during the planting. Moreover, the summer was marked by a lot of temperature fluctuations, so the potato plants did not develop well.
According to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, 67,810 hectares of potatoes were planted this year; 4.3% less than in 2017. When it comes to potato production, the most important regions are Castile-Leon, with about 19,351 hectares; Galicia, with 17,221 hectares, and Andalusia, with 10,542 hectares. According to the same source, the harvest volume stands at 1,978,000 tons, divided into 92,000 tons of extra early potatoes, 372,000 tons of early potatoes, 832,000 tons of mid-season potatoes and 691,000 tons of late potatoes.
The NEPG states that the average yield of potato producers in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands is the lowest in years and stands 13.1% below the average of the past five years. According to the organization, there are also huge differences between irrigated and non-irrigated cultivation and also between the different varieties and crop regions. The yields in Europe are therefore very diverse and fluctuate between 18 and 80 tonnes per hectare.
In the NEPG mid-season harvest estimates, a 4.4% drop in the average yield was already expected; a decrease that eventually turned out to be even greater.
The total planted area of the five NEPG countries has grown by 1% and amounts to 595,587 hectares.