Potato Harvest 20% Lower in NEPG Countries
The total consumption potato harvest in four of the five important potato-producing countries in the EU is estimated to be at least 20% lower than last year, the Association of North-western European Potato Growers (NEPG) forecasts. The harvest is expected to totalize less than 20m tons.
This estimate is only based on harvests on continental Europe – Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands. End results for Great Britain will be available at the end of the year. This delay in results is because the harvest is still ongoing there. There is a considerable variation in irrigated and non-irrigated fields in all four main potato countries which have been included in the estimate. This variation is also the case with varieties and locations.
According to the Association, samples from the four mainland countries show yields ranging from 18 to 80 t / ha. The average yields measured in the four countries are the lowest observed for many years, and are 13.1% lower than the five-year average. Potato acreage increased by 1% this year to 595,587 ha.
In Belgium, the current yield estimate is 38.1 t / ha, down 29% from last year and 24% from the five-year average. The variety Bintje has particularly suffered, but other varieties specific industries also. It is important to note that the share of irrigated potato areas in Belgium does not exceed 3%. Other countries report yields down 14 to 20%.
Total volumes produced are down but tuber sizes are also lower. The main quality problem reported this year is the regrowth phenomenon, with second generation tubers. The consequences may be dry matter contents too low, floating tubers or vitreous problems, and staining on finished products. The problem is particularly noted in Bintje, but other varieties for the fresh market or for processing have also encountered this problem, to a lesser extent.