News Agriculture, Statistic

In the middle of October, farms had 203 million kilos of ware and food-industry potatoes in stock, of which ware potatoes accounted for 167 million kilos. Total potato stocks were nearly 10 million kilos and ware potato stocks more than 7 million kilos higher than in October 2018.

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.

Photo: Veikko Somerpuro

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

Ware potatoes from Ostrobothnia, food-industry potatoes from Satakunta

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 area. In Satakunta, potato stocks were half filled by food-industry potatoes.

The impact of frost on stock quality still a mystery

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.

Background to the statistics

The stock level survey was targeted at farms growing ware and food-industry potatoes, whose cultivation area is at least five hectares.

These kinds of farms numbered 448, and their combined ware and food-industry potato cultivation area amounted to 10,701 hectares. Compared with the previous year, the number of farms decreased by 13 farms, or 3%. The cultivation area increased by 231 hectares, or 2%. The average ware and food-industry potato cultivation area was 24 hectares per farm. Half of these farms are included in the statistics. The response rate was high at 94%.