UK Harvest in Line with Five-year Average
According to AHDB’s provisional estimates, the total harvest of British potatoes this year will be 5.3m tons, up 2.8% over last year’s figure but just below the five-year average of 5.4m tons. The estimate has been released during a time when growers have battled an exceptionally wet harvest period for the second year running.
AHDB said the farmers have fared better than last year, as on November 10 it was estimated that 2% of the planted area was yet to be lifted, compared to 11% last year. This production figure follows an AHDB estimate that the planted area this year is the third-lowest on record.
Alice Bailey, a senior analyst at AHDB, said: “This overall net yield sits in line with the five-year national average (2015-2019). Reports suggest that yields have been somewhat variable from farm to farm, even field to field. Yet overall, crops are within farm expectations so it is not surprising that the national yield is in line with recent years. We saw planted area drop by 2.3% this year, yet we are estimating a 2.8% rise in production. This is based on both a slight increase in yields year-on-year and the fact that a large area was left unharvested last year.”
It was also noted that the estimate could be amended in the coming weeks, with 2,100ha still to harvest in the east of England, and some members of the 450-strong AHDB Grower Panel still to return their survey information.
Winter marketing campaign
Meanwhile, potatoes strategy director Rob Clayton announced that AHDB would be launching another promotional campaign in reaction to the market conditions caused by the coronavirus. This follows on from a similar campaign in the summer that reached five million shoppers via catch-up TV, social media and display advertising.
“Since the pandemic hit, we have increased the amount of data we analyze from supermarkets and other areas of the marketplace. While potato sales at retail are up 8-9% overall – analysis from Kantar Worldpannel shows baking potatoes lagging behind at a rise of 3%. Jacket potatoes are a fantastic healthy and cost-effective option for families, so we will be launching a winter campaign to inspire shoppers to take advantage of all the great things they can do with bakers,” said Clayton.