Castile and Leon have an estimated 17,331 hectares devoted to potato crops, according to the data provided by the Junta. This is 1,041 hectares less than last year, and a 5.6% drop in the community, which had already experienced a 4% reduction in area in 2020. However, this decrease was smaller than expected, stated Yolanda Medina, president of the Interprofessional Organization of the Potato (Oipacyl).
Medina highlighted the role of weather in the crops. The first plantings took place in the last three weeks of March, especially in the provinces of Zamora, Salamanca, and Valladolid, with a suitable temperature and good soil preparation, unlike last year. The rains in April delayed the sowing until the 20th of that month and it lasted until mid-May.
Right now potato cultivation is vigorous and healthy in Castile and Leon, so producers expect good quality and uniform sizes. However, it is at a delicate moment due to the succession of storms. The crops should be treated against mildew, Medina stated.
Bad behavior of foreign markets
The campaign began in Andalusia and in the Region of Murcia. Andalusia started with lower yields than in other years, while the region of Cartagena registered similar productions.
According to Yolanda, the only problem that producers and operators in southern Spain are facing at the moment is the foreign market, as exports have dwindled and there are many tons stored in chambers waiting for operations to take place.
Albacete will be the next area to harvest its potato. This year's area is very similar to that of 2020 and producers expect to achieve a good quality tuber. Yolanda Medina recalled that, for the past three years, this area's harvest has been coinciding with the start of the earliest varieties of Castile and Leon. That's why the next three weeks will be fundamental so that producers analyze the situation of the crop and demand and make decisions. However, the most likely thing is that the community will advance their harvest somewhat.
What worries us is the product that was planted in the last three weeks of March, she stated. "There are no quality or health issues, but we worry the production will all come out at the same time and it might saturate the market, as has happened on so many occasions."