UK sets up potato database as spud prices plunge to three-year low

A major British agricultural body is to set up a new potato database, as potato prices in the country hit their lowest in three years.

Ex-farm free-buy prices currently sit £95/t (€107/t) lower than the same point last year.

AHDB (Agriculture Horticulture Development Board) will launch the Potato Data Centre (PDC) next week at BP2017; one of the UK’s largest potato industry events.

The tool – which allows growers and those in the supply chain to examine data on price, variety, planted area, market sector and yield – will be available on the AHDB stand at the popular ‘soil to shelf’ event.

The news comes as prices hit a three-year low, due to a 4% increase in planted area combined with reportedly above-average yields.

Rob Clayton, strategy director at AHDB Potatoes, said: “The good news is that as growers and retailers continue to work closer together, a higher percentage of growers supply potatoes on contract, at a pre-agreed price, so for many high yields mean contracts are filled.”

The data on PDC comes from AHDB’s annual levy return forms, as well as price information from weekly calls to growers and purchasers.

The information is presented in comparative and interactive graphs.

Users will be able to pull in data on the variety and market sector relevant to them, and then compare that data to that of previous seasons to identify trends.

This is a real game-changer for growers and the supply chain.

“By BP2017 we will have a good picture of market conditions for the season and we invite everyone to come and examine the data and discuss the market, as well as what we can offer with our team,” Clayton added.

AHDB is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. As a result, the information provided in the Potato Data Centre is free for growers to access and impartial.