The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) has issued a new estimate for the harvest of fresh market in the leading five North-Western potato countries (Belgium, Germany, France, Netherlands and Great Britain). It says that if all potatoes are lifted, the total harvested will be in the region of 26.9 million tonnes. This is 10 per cent more than last season and 1.8 per cent more than the five year average.
NEPG says that overall average yields are estimated at 43.9 t/ha which is 6.8 per cent below the five year average, but around three tonnes more than last season. For Great Britain, where is says the harvest is always later, no estimate has yet been made, so the five year average was used, although it expects this to be close to the final picture.
Across north-west Europe, this year’s harvest is later than usual. NEPG commented that irrigation was being used in September while in October it was often too wet to harvest crops. In mid October, almost 60 per cent of the crop in Belgium and The Netherlands still had to be harvested. Quality is okay, but with so much wet crop entering stores good ventilation and drying will be needed.
The NEPG advises against increasing the planted area next year, particular on the European mainland. “If we have a normal harvest with this existing area, the market will not be in balance anymore”, according to the Secretary of the NEPG.