The potato campaign is in full swing for Top’Pom, a producer and trader located in the Aube department. This year’s campaign will be mostly marked by the high temperatures and the drought.
“Most European countries have been affected by the drought so the volumes of potatoes are limited in several countries, like Italy and Spain, which are resorting to imports earlier than usual,” explains Antoine Geysels, manager of Top’Pom. “The demand for exports was already present in mid-July and it continues to grow.”
Besides this demand from abroad, French packing stations are also placing significant orders. “At the moment, it is not easy for us to satisfy all the needs of our clients in terms of quantity. The supply is limited due to the low yields and prices continue to increase on the fresh market.”
The drought has also had a negative impact on the production of potatoes for processing. “This is felt in the harvests of all producing countries. However, few surfaces have been harvested so far so it is still too early to make an initial assessment.”
The loss in yield due to the drought will inevitably be amplified for all the non-irrigated plots, especially those in the Hauts-de-France and Seine-Maritime regions. “Depending on the area, the varieties, the plots and the amount of water used, the loss in yield could go from 10 to 40% compared to the previous campaign. There are therefore many questions about the quantities available for the current season.”
Antoine adds that calibers are globally smaller than usual, considering the good tuberization early in the cycle, and the very hot and dry weather which has shortened the potato cycle. “This phenomenon is identical in other regions and it will be problematic for the packing stations to valorize these small sizes.”
It is still too early to assess the quality of the potatoes. “The first batches are satisfactory but we will have to be vigilant about the conservation of the potatoes, which will probably have a reduced dormancy due to the high temperatures during the vegetation cycle.”
At the moment, Top’Pom offers the Colomba and Agata varieties to its clients, as well as a number of red and white firm flesh varieties. “Like every year, the sales team of Top’Pom is mobilized and determined to satisfy the demands of its regular clients and to ensure that the potatoes are sold at a decent price for the producers in this inflationary context.”