North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) estimates that the increase in potato acreage in the North-West European countries will grow by 3.6% in 2017, compared to 2016.
Outside the United Kingdom, a lack of certified seeds will limit the increase. The total area of the five NEPG countries could reach 572,485 ha (excluding plants and starch).
For the 2017/2018 season, the five NEPG countries will all plant more potatoes, with Belgium recording the largest increase, compared to the average. The surface area will increase by 7.2%.
Last year, the entire perimeter of the NEPG countries recorded a total harvest of approximately 27,000,000 tons (a growth of 5.4%), on the basis of the average yield observed for last five years.
The NEPG adds that the final harvest will be mainly based upon yields and much less on planted area, and the planting season has just started. Many seeds has been cut and alternative processing varieties are being used, compared with the common high yield processing ones.
So far all early processing varieties are planted, and growers are now planting the main crop. Plantings are good on schedule, but in all NEPG countries the soil is dry and the seed potatoes are “thirsty”.
The Belgian organization Belgapom recently published the total amount of investments made in industrial tools on Belgian territory: EUR310m over the year 2016, which is a higher amount than the total investments made over the previous two years.
The Belgian processing industry used 4.4 million tons of potatoes last year, an increase of 11%. In other NEPG countries, demand for raw materials also increased. Despite the lack of planting this year, potatoes have tried to anticipate this growing demand, but conditions and crop development will make a difference, according to NEPG.