Situation update as to new season main crop fresh potatoes

main crop fresh potatoes

With scattered rainfall in week commencing 12th of August, hope on normalisation of new crop lived up again. However since August 22nd

the heat came back and leaves many spurs of uncertainty throughout Europe.      
The liftings of early season varieties are nearly over and the industry has made the switch to semi-late varieties, prior to starting main season’s
crop (potatoes for conservation) at the end of August, first days of September. Harvesting should end (in function of local weather and soil 
conditions) around the end of October and before the first night frost comes up.      
Whereas in June 2018 it was clear that the entire potato harvest all over Europe would be a disaster, this year the situation is a lot more
complicated. There are differences per country, per region, per village, yet even per farm. This has everything to do with the irregular local 
rainfall or to an even higher extent the lack of it.         
Also the type of soil plays a role, with very poor results on sandy soils.       
After the dramatic situation in 2018, plenty of farmers had massively invested in irrigation equipment, but the widely spread official ban on   
pumping ground waters curtailed the plans and considerably hit the expected yields in Flanders, North of France and parts of Central Germany.
The higher acreage may partly compensate for the loss of yield per hectare, but this will only become clear once the harvest is completed all
over Europe.            
Test liftings made in Belgium after 111 days of growth show following figures :       
 Bintje variety : estimated 34 tons per hectare, which is 4 tons per hectare below the 10-years average  
   regrowth on all 17 test fields        
 Fontane variety :estimated 43 tons per hectare in Flanders against 34 tons per hectare in Wallonia, the latter could be caused
   by later planting. The figures would be close to the past 5-years average, on condition the yield per hectare in
   Wallonia keeps growing in the weeks to follow to catch up for the backlog.   
   No regrowth found.         
Bearing in mind the above, it remains very difficult to forecast the general outcome in North-Western Europe. After 3-4 weeks of liftings, more
reliable figures should become available by the end of September.       
Prices have come down when compared to season 2018/19, but the overall expected price collapse is out of question. It does not look like price
levels of harvest season 2017/18 will even come near.        
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