Potato processor Simplot Australia has refused to budge on its second price offer to Tasmanian farmers for this season’s potato crop. That is the reason farmers met last week, discussing the impasse with the company over what they say is an effort to be paid a fair price for the product they grow.
Farmers say the extra $105 per ton the company put forward three weeks ago is still not enough to cover the cost of growing their crop this season, estimated to be about $20,000 a hectare.
About 70 Simplot potato growers were at the meeting in Deloraine. They're all reassessing their future in potatoes.
Long-time potato seed grower Brett Neale said it was time for processors to offer all growers a fair price that covers their growing costs. "From a seed point of view … all negotiations have stalled, and we're in the same boat as everyone else," Neale said "Potato farmers have had a gut full of growing potatoes for nothing.”
Costs have gone up for all potato growers and last year yields were down. Some expect a similar wet season in spring and crop problems, while some say it's not worth the risk.