In the middle of October, on-farm food potato stocks stood at 171 million kilos, being 13 million kilos higher than in the previous autumn, but clearly below the long-term average. Average food potato stocks have stood at 184 million kilos in October. When processed food potatoes are included, stocks totalled 196 million kilos.
This growing season has also been challenging for potato farms. Heavy rainfall, early frost and unexpected cold weather have made potato farming difficult in many areas. Harvesting also took place later than usual. However, potato farms were able to have reasonable harvests.
– This is the third year in succession with difficult weather conditions. I would like to thank all farmers who, during harvesting, had the time to respond to the survey. The response rate was again high at 94 per cent,” says senior statistician Anna-Kaisa Jaakkonen from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
Cultivation area unchanged, harvests higher than in the year before
Even though the weather conditions have been challenging this autumn, last autumn was even worse. This year, potato harvests were approximately 30 tons per hectare, while last autumn’s corresponding figure was 29 tons per hectare. The potato cultivation area remained at 11,000 hectares on the farms that responded to the survey.
Harvests of farms with the highest potato cultivation areas in Ostrobothnia and in the region covered by the Northern Ostrobothnia ELY Centre that were higher than in the year before had a particularly significant impact on potato volumes. This autumn, on-farm food potato stocks in these regions total 98 million kilos, or 57 per cent of all food potato stocks in Finland. Total food and processed food potatoes stocks stood at 196 million kilos in the middle of October, of which food potato accounted for nearly 87 per cent.
Enough potatoes to cover domestic consumption
This autumn, food potato stocks are estimated to be sufficient to cover domestic consumption. There are quality problems and, as a result, sorting losses are expected to be higher than in the year before, as there are green and cracked potatoes.
This autumn’s import and export volumes are not yet available from the statistics of Finnish Customs, but both import and export volumes of potatoes are expected to be low. In September, there were signs of a slight increase in the producer prices of f potatoes. The price was EUR 19.14/100 kg in September, while it was EUR 16.56/100 kg in September 2016.
Only large potato farms are included in potato storage statistics
This autumn’s statistics on food potato stocks focused on even larger potato farms, whose production and stocks are the cornerstone of Finland’s food and processed food potato production. The survey was targeted at farms growing food and processed food potato, whose cultivation area is at least five hectares.
These kinds of farms numbered 475, and their combined food and processed food potato cultivation area amounted to 10,881 hectares. Compared with the previous year, the number of farms decreased by 19 farms, or four per cent. The average food and processed food potato cultivation area was 23 hectares per farm. Half of these farms are included in the statistics. The response rate was high at 94 per cent.