NEPG: Early indications suggest that the North European harvest will be 17% less than last season with some thousands of hectare still to be harvested.
It is still too early for the NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) to arrive at a definite estimate of the yield. Based on new yield comparisons in the 5 most important production centres the total harvest has been fixed at 22,292 million tons, which is 16,7% less than last season and 10% less than the average of the last 5 years.
Extremely late harvest
The delegates are of the opinion, that on 22 November more than 10,000 HA had not been harvested in Great Britain and between 5,000 and 8,000 HA is still to be harvested in the west of Belgium and the north of France (along the Channel and the North Sea coast). The NEPG have therefore decided to wait two more weeks before publication of the official harvest estimate per country. The German harvest was average to good, but the English harvest will probably be about 25% less than last year. Not only because of the area being 5% smaller, but mainly because of the low yields per HA of 37,4 tons as a result of the late planting and the bad and wet harvesting conditions in Great Britain. The worst British harvest since 1976.
Good quality in storage
More green potatoes are announced and the sorting is fine, whilst the quality of the potatoes in storage is good in general. Whilst normally the price is established by the table and export potatoes, now the continuous demand from industry is deciding. Both Belgium and the Netherlands harvest less potatoes than the total requirement of the processing industry. The extra potatoes will have to be imported.
It was a difficult season for the growers of potatoes, who planted late, an extremely difficult harvest combined with higher energy, plant protection and labour costs. The NEPG estimate that growers, who only harvested their contract volume will not cover their expense, because they do not benefit from the actual higher prices.
Within two weeks the NEPG will publish a definite harvest determination with a full overview of areas and yields per country.