UK: 2021 potato area set to decline?

The last 12 months have really taken their toll on potato markets. The coronavirus pandemic happened at one of the worst points within the potato growing cycle, and there was not much growers could do to reduce their area.

This led to pressure towards the end of 2019/20 marketing year, which meant that the average price of a ware potato ended at £179/t, down from £199/t in 2018/19.

With planting for 2021 near, many growers may be thinking of reducing their area for 2021. How much could the area reduce by?

Long-term reducing area
Due to consolidation within the potato industry, we are witnessing a downward trend year-on-year in potato area.

When a linear trend line is applied to the GB potato area, you can see that area is slowly decreasing over time. From 2002, the potato area has varied a maximum of 6Kha over the trendline or 9Kha under the trendline, as weather and market environment can cause the area to move away from this trend.

With the current market climate, it is anticipated that the area will be below the trendline, as we are expected to see two successive low-priced years.

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