Nearing the end of what they call ‘one of the most humid and difficult summers in the last decades’, the North-western European Potato Growers (NEPG) expect average yields at the EU-04 level to be roughly 45 tonnes per hectare.
NEPG anticipates global yields at EU-04 level (the NEPG zone) to be roughly equal to those of last year, which is some 45 tonnes per hectare and slightly above the five year average. The total production in the NEPG zone, produced on an area of 497.700 hectare, is expected to be around 22,4 million tonnes, similar to the five years average. ‘This is less than last year, mainly due to reduced planted area’, the association states, while attributing this reduced planted area to their advice to lower the planted area.
The association however foresees relative important differences between gross and net yields. ‘There are still many uncertainties about quality issues (including rot, hollow hearts, cracks, and low under water weight), harvesting conditions and storability’, the growers association believes. ‘Since the historically high rainfall in some areas in Belgium and Western Germany mid-July, late blight problems have been a constant worry for growers, and spray costs will be on a historic level. A growing number of producers say their late blight outbreaks are more or less under control but will one way or the other have an influence on the season, for example through lower net yields and/or quality issues’, NEPG states. ‘Higher prices for cereals and rapeseed, combined with greater potato production costs due to for example the above average spray costs for 2021 and higher energy costs for storage 2021-2022, could have an influence on the 2022 potato area’, NEPG asserts.
With regard to Covid-19, the association expects that the worldwide pandemic will still be weighing on potato markets and sales of processed products throughout the coming marketing season. ‘Nevertheless, since the end of spring and throughout the summer, processors have been working at full capacity. EU-27 exports were very good in June (plus 63 percent compared to June 2020). Total sales of European processed potato products were up by 13 percent comparing season 2020/21 with season 2019/20. There where big variations of destinations and volumes exported during this last 12 months period’, the press release reads, adding that ‘due to the very hot and dry summer in Southern Europe, North Africa and the near East, exports of fresh potatoes to the Mediterranean basin and possibly to eastern Europe could be good.’
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