Potato volumes rise to 6.2 million tonnes thanks to good growing conditions

Good growing conditions have resulted in the production of more potatoes this year than last - with volumes up by some 3.5 per cent to 6.2 million tonnes.

The Potato Council revealed the figure - based on the production reported from 246 crops from its grower panel - at the British Potato 2009 event, which took place last week in Harrogate, Yorkshire.

The occasion was hailed as a resounding success by exhibitors and visitors as more than 5,500 people attended.

Potato Council director Sandra Ziles said: "With over 5,500 attending, it's clear that anyone who is serious about growing and purchasing potatoes came to the event.

"There was a great atmosphere - a really positive feeling as you moved through the trade stands. It's been tremendous for business and hugely rewarding for the immense amount of effort that Potato Council staff, board members and exhibitors put into making this event truly worthwhile."

The Potato Council also revealed that average yields are greater this year - 47.2 tonnes/ha, versus 45.7 tonnes/ha last year.

Meanwhile, the planted area of this year's crop is almost the same as last year - 130,231ha in 2009 compared to 130,234ha in 2008.

However, dry weather during the latter part of the season, especially in eastern England, led to difficult harvesting conditions for growers, whose crops tended to have a poor skin finish, high dry-matter levels and excessive bruising during lifting. As a result, it is expected that wastage will be high during the 2009/10 season.


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