Energy costs set to soar

"There is a lot of anxiety in the potato trade at the moment"

The Scottish potato harvest has started in parts of the country, but due to the hot, dry weather some areas will be a couple of weeks late harvesting.

According to one grower it is a bit of a mixed bag, with areas which had more rain looking at a good harvest and areas which have been particularly dry being late, with possibly more small sized potatoes.

"Some fields have failed completely while others are looking really good," said the grower. "Smaller sizes are good for the seed market, so I think it will be quite normal but the supply of ware potatoes might be challenging. This will make for a good price on the spot market but growers who have all of their ware potatoes contacted might have a tough season. On average volumes will down around 15%."

The demand for Scottish seed potatoes has been steady, with the biggest export market Egypt still looking strong. 

"They are seeing good demand for domestic ware supply and they like the seed varieties which we grow in Scotland. The problem will be with shipping, it certainly won't be any easier or cheaper than last year."

A lot of the bigger growers in Scotland are also involved in the cereal trade which seems a much better option at the moment as it is less labour and energy dependant and much less risky. It is possible they will grow more cereals and less potatoes next year.

"There is a lot of anxiety in the potato trade at the moment. Costs are high and energy costs are set to increase 5 or 6 fold in the coming months meaning storage costs will increase by hundreds of thousand of pounds."

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