The North-Western European Potato Growers (NEPG) group has increased its estimate for the region’s potato harvest from its earlier figure published in September. NEPG now estimates the total harvest for the five countries represented (the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands) at 28.9 million tonnes.
Although final yields in the UK are not yet available, and some 10-15 per cent of the Dutch acreage is still to be harvested because of wet weather, NEPG estimates the total crop is 17.7 per cent higher than last year and 15.6 per cent higher than the five-year average. With yield per hectare up in all countries apart from the UK, where the figure is still unknown, the total yield is slightly above that recorded in 2014, which was the largest figure on record.
However, while overall yields are up, variability is high, particularly in France and Belgium. Overall crop quality is described as good, but losses are expected to be above normal levels and some questions remain about the storability of crops harvested in wet conditions. Dry matters are also low in many instances, with many crops of Bintje and Fontane in the Benelux countries being below the specified minimum levels for starch processing.
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