Potato Council analyst reports crop volume decline

Record numbers of visitors are expected to attend BP2011, which features industry experts and 150 leading European firms.

Production volumes look to be slightly down this year thanks to dry weather in the East and West and rain in Scotland, Potato Council senior analyst Jim Davies will tell visitors to the BP2011 show.

Davies will give a market update at the trade event, including production figures and yields.

"It seems that production volumes are slightly down this year," he said. "Prices last year were exceptional, but this year is different for various reasons. Yields are down and last year's high demand from eastern Europe has not been repeated because they have better crops this year," Davies pointed out.

"However, supply hasn't been a problem because crops were planted in dry, warm conditions and the crop was ready earlier than last year."

A host of big-name speakers have been lined up for this year's show. The free event, aimed at growers, packers, students, processors and everyone else in the supply chain, is being held at the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate, on 23 and 24 November.

Other speakers at the event will include Potato Council head of research and development Mike Storey, who will talk on the benefits of research to industry, and head of marketing Caroline Evans, who will focus on market and consumer trends.

Plant health consultant Colin Jeffries will look at emerging diseases, while Pat Haydock, a reader in nematology, will explore potato cyst nematode controls.

More than 150 of Europe's top potato industry companies will be exhibiting, including machinery distributors, engineering firms, seed growers and packers.

"Record numbers are expected to attend the industry's biggest event of the year," said a show spokesman.

"Product launches will help the industry keep ahead of its competitors. One of these is a treatment made up of beneficial bacteria and fungi that is sprayed into the ridge at the time of planting or mixed in with liquid fertiliser applications. The product can then form symbiotic relationships with the potato plant, increasing its ability to use nutrients."

To register, see www.potato.org.uk/bp2011.

Carbon tool pressed

The Potato Council is urging growers to measure the carbon footprint of their business, using the new, potato-specific Cool Farm Tool application being demonstrated at its stand.

It can give growers a valuable insight into how not only to reduce their emissions but also to save money, the council says.

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