It did not look like it earlier this summer, but Dutch potato yields seem pretty good, says Landjuweel buyer Frank Poelman. "Yields were disastrous in the country's southwest early in the season. But the kilos have since increased so much; we may even end up with an above-average harvest," he says.
Potato sales are still very smooth, for now. "Despite the higher store prices, sales are holding up in almost the entire market. Lately, prices dropped slightly, but that's not detrimental to sales. It was tricky to do promotions with the early season's high prices."
Michiel Meijering and Frank Poelman
Frank does not think prices will fall significantly more any time soon. "There has been quite a demand for ware potato over the past year by the French fry sector. But, growers need a healthy outlook to keep cultivating table potatoes in the coming years. That doesn't greatly concern me because often, in recent years, it turned out there were enough potatoes left, after all. So, a somewhat lower acreage is quite acceptable to the market," he explains.
According to Frank, this season's traditional varieties like Bildstar and Eigenheimer yields are, unusually, lagging behind other varieties. "They yielded no more than 40 tons per hectare and their season began much later too. Normally, by now, we'd already start the first big promotions with these varieties, but they're now four weeks behind schedule."
This year, too, there is enormous Phytophthora pressure. "It's often not evident during grubbing but shows up later. Just about every batch is affected. We'll, thus, have to be very alert to that. The inferior batches are usually cleared out around the end of the year. But, after this growing season, quality remains a challenge," Frank concludes.