In the middle of January, farms had a total of 97 million kilos of food and food-industry potatoes in stock. Of this, the volume of food potatoes amounted to 75 million kilos. Potato stocks have emptied more quickly than in last winter. Compared with the situation in the middle of October, the stocks have halved. This winter, food potato stocks have decreased at an average monthly pace of 28 million kilos.
Summer 2018 was characterised by high variation in growth conditions in different parts of Finland. However, harvest levels were moderate, partly even good, in main potato production areas in Ostrobothnia and Northern Ostrobothnia.
“In these regions, farms have 65% of all Finnish potatoes in stock. When potato stocks in Southern Ostrobothnia are also included, the three Ostrobothnian ELY Centre regions account for more than 80% of Finland’s potato stocks”, says Anna-Kaisa Jaakkonen, senior statistician at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
Food potato stocks have only a minor impact on prices
When stockpiles of food potatoes in January are compared over a timeline of 11 years, it can be discovered that there have only been four years with potato stocks of less than 100 million kilos. This January was nearly identical to January 2017 when the volume of food potatoes in stocks was slightly lower, i.e. 73 million kilos.
“Even though the stockpiles are lower than in the previous winter, this has not had much impact on the producer price of food potatoes. According to the most recent statistics of producer prices of farm products released in December 2018, farmers were paid EUR 19.18 per 100 kilos of food potatoes. In December 2017, this price was EUR 19.04 per 100 kilos.”
Using banking codes to respond to an online survey
This year’s food potato stock statistics were the first Luke statistics in which the suomi.fi service was used to get authenticated in the online survey. Respondents were able to access the survey using their banking codes.
“This was clearly useful, as farmers have already used their banking codes to access other services. In addition, this increased the level of information security. Best of all, the percentage of respondents using the online survey increased to 50%”, Jaakkonen says.
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.