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Drought, frost clip potato stocks in S Ostrobothnia

08 Nov 2019, 02:21 ( 14 days ago) | updated: 08 Nov 2019, 10:10 ( 14 days ago)

DF Report
Photo source: Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) by Veikko Somerpuro.

In the middle of October, farms had 203 million kilograms of ware- and food-industry potatoes in stock, of which ware potatoes accounted for 167 million kgs, said the Natural Resources Institute of Finland (Luke).

The total amount of potato stocks was nearly 10 million kilograms and ware potato stocks more than seven million kgs higher than that in October 2018, said a press release.

The previous growing season was closer to an average year after many years of difficult growing conditions.

However, weather conditions changed greatly from one region to the next this year, as well. The potato yield was high in Satakunta and Tavastia Proper. The yield in the whole of Finland was at the previous year’s level at 31 tons per hectare.

“Drought and cold nights reduced yields in main potation production areas in Ostrobothnia where the potato yield was 29–33 tons per hectare,” said Anna-Kaisa Jaakkonen, a senior statistician at Luke.

Jaakkonen said potato stocks in Southern Ostrobothnia were a quarter smaller than that during the previous autumn. In Northern Ostrobothnia, the increase in the cultivated area by 158 hectares from the previous year covered the decrease in yields.

“Food-industry potatoes accounted for a significant part of this increase. Even though Luke estimated in August that the total potato yield will be smaller than in 2018, the ongoing study of crop production statistics seems to indicate that the total yield will be higher than last year, at least on farms included in the stock level survey. Above all, this can be explained by the increased cultivation area,” Jaakkonen added.

Ostrobothnian ELY Centre regions have been significant in terms of ware potato production year after year. In the middle of October, 75% of ware potato stocks, i.e. 125 million kilos, were on farms located in these three regions. Tavastia Proper was the fourth largest region in terms of ware potato stocks.

In addition to Ostrobothnia, Satakunta is another key region for food-industry potato production. There, food-industry potatoes covered 60% of the total ware and food-industry potato in the area. In Satakunta, potato stocks were half filled by food-industry potatoes.

Frost during the growing season had an impact on the quality of harvested potatoes. Its final impact can only be seen during the stock period. Drought in turn caused potato scab.

 The ware potato producer price was EUR 19.69 per 100 kilos in September, being slightly higher than in September 2018 when the producer price was EUR 18.70 per 100 kilos. In Europe in general, this year’s potato yields were normal, with an increasing cultivation area compensating for drought in Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.