In the middle of January, farms had 115 million kilos of food and food-industry potatoes in stock. Of this, the volume of food potato amounted to 100 million kilos. Potato stocks decreased by 81 million kilos from the middle of October, or by an average of 27 million kilos per month. This corresponds with the long-term average.
Even though the third difficult growing season in succession harmed some potato farmers, harvests were also good in main production areas and in northern Ostrobothnia, in particular. In the middle of January, stocks in Ostrobothnia and northern Ostrobothnia made up 58 per cent of total food potato stocks in Finland, totalling 58 million kilos. When southern Ostrobothnia is included, the region accounted for 75 per cent of all Finnish food potato stocks.
Enough food potatoes to cover domestic consumption
In the middle of January, food potato stocks are estimated to be sufficient to cover domestic consumption.
– The sufficiency of potato stocks is largely affected by successful storage. This winter, stock losses will result from evaporation, as stocks needed to be ventilated more than normal due to the wet early winter. Fungal diseases, silver scurf in particular, cause problems with the appearance of potatoes, says Anna-Kaisa Jaakkonen, senior statistician from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
According to Customs statistics, the volumes of imported and exported food potato were moderate in autumn. The market in Russia, a significant country to which potatoes are exported, has been closed since 2013.
The producer prices of food potatoes have increased slightly. In December 2017, the price of potato was EUR 19.04/100 kg, while the price was EUR 16.44/100 kg the year before. However, the price is much lower than in the autumn of crop failure in 2012, when the producer price of food potato was EUR 28.53/100 kg in December.
Large potato farms included in statistics
The statistics on food potato stocks indicates the storage situation on large potato farms, as their production and stocks form the core of Finnish food potato production. The survey was targeted at farms growing food and food-industry potatoes, whose cultivation area is at least five hectares.
These kinds of farms numbered 475, and their combined food and food-industry 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 food-industry 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.