PW-ACTUA Record 2020 EU-5 plantings expected Growers in the five key western European potato countries are expected to increase their plantings this year, which raises the risk of over-production if growing conditions are good, writes Cedric Porter That is the verdict of NEPG – the North West Europe Potato Growers – a grouping of national potato organisations from Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain. In 2019 a record area of 613,946 hectares of consumption potatoes was planted in the five countries – 2.6% higher than 2018 and 20% more than 2012. A 2.5% increase in 2020 (the average of the last eight seasons) would result in an area of 629,295 hectares. Average yield The average EU-5 yield over the last eight season is 46.1t/ ha. If that were acheived in 2020 on the area calculated above then production would be 29.010 million tonnes. This would be 600,000 tonnes short of the record 2017 crop. If there was a repeat of the record average yield of 52.1t/ha achieved in 2014, production would be a massive 32.786 million tonnes. However, a repeat of the very low 2018 yields, which averaged 40.9t/ha, would mean production would be at 25.738 million tonnes. Production in million tonnes 10 15 20 25 30 35 0 5 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 av 20 hi 20 lo 8-yr av Increase in area The NEPG says that, despite an increase in demand from the processing industry and robust exports, the risks of over-production and very low prices are high. A switch from sugar-beet production in the Netherlands and elsewhere to potatoes could fuel the increase in area. Banning CIPC EU-5 ware yield and production estimates, 2012 to a theoretical 2020 crop Production (million tonnes) Germany France 2020 est % ch'ge 8.740 Great Britain Belgium Netherlands Total France Great Britain Belgium Netherlands Total France 6.763 4.739 4.873 3.996 29.010 45.8 43.9 46.1 47.3 49.6 +9.3 +7.3 -2.7 +21.4 +7.8 +7.9 Average Yield (tonnes/hectare) Germany +6.5 +3.3 -2.4 46.1 Area in hectares Germany 190836 154065 Great Britain 102791 Belgium 103027 Netherlands 80557 Total 629295 +15.1 +5.5 +5.3 +2.6 +3.9 -0.3 +5.5 +2.1 2019 % ch'ge 7.998 6.302 4.868 4.014 3.708 26.891 43.0 42.5 47.2 41.1 47.0 43.8 186000 148282 103100 97656 78900 +2.5 613946 +9.3 +5.8 +13.4 +11.2 +12.6 +9.9 +4.9 +3.7 +13.2 +7.9 +10.1 +7.1 +4.2 +2.1 +0.2 +3.1 +2.3 2018 7.319 5.956 4.291 3.61 3.294 41.0 41.0 41.7 38.1 42.7 40.9 178500 145260 102900 94746 77150 2017 8.72 6.466 5.243 5.117 4.078 24.47 29.624 50.0 47.0 49.3 53.7 53.8 50.2 174400 137720 106356 95283 75800 2016 7.485 5.11 4.583 4.038 3.363 45.5 40.8 46.2 44.2 46.2 44.4 164500 125250 99200 91368 72800 2015 8-yr av 7.379 5.231 4.822 4.071 3.811 46.0 44.0 50.1 51.2 53.0 48.0 160416 118890 96251 79504 71900 7.725 5.632 4.746 4.018 3.643 24.58 25.314 25.764 45.8 43.9 46.1 47.3 49.6 46.1 168777 128400 103026 85399 73599 +2.6 598556 589559 553118 526961 559201 Notes: 2020 production based on average change in area between 2012 and 2019 and eight-year average yields. Source: NEPG and WPM estimates for 2020 Factors that could limit an increase in area include the fallout from the difficulties experienced in the 2019 harvest – up to 2% of the EU-5 crop remains in the ground. Growers are also facing higher production costs, partly because of increased fieldwork, but mainly because of higher storage costs due to the banning of anti-sprouting chemical CIPC. Storage costs could reach as much as €30/ tonne, according to Dutch estimates. The fear is that many growers will not be able to cover their costs, even if they are on contracts. Cedric Porters is the editor of World Potato Markets, a weekly briefing on potato prices, trade and production. For more details contact him on 0044 1892 543444, email cedric@supplyintelligence.co.uk or see www.worldpotatomarkets.com ● Potato World 2020 • number 1 9 Pagina 8

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