Latest stock figures held by British potato growers are down almost a quarter on last year going by the latest estimates from the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board, which says growers are 24% down on previous years’ figures at 1.84mt and 13% down on the five-year-average.

The estimates show stock levels for the 2018/19 season to be higher than at the same point in 2012 but only slightly lower than 2016 which points to another tight year for the British potato supply.

“Given the poor growing season in 2018 these figures are hardly surprising, particularly given the contrast with previous years’ harvest," said Sara Maslowski, senior analyst at AHDB

Alongside the figures on stock levels, data on ‘drawdown’ (the rate at which stocks are removed from storage) show a high number of potato stocks removed from growers’ stores during December and January, with 1.13mt released from farms during this period.

“The unseasonal weather this winter has meant that some growers struggled with ambient storage due to the higher than usual temperatures. This meant that these stores were cleared earlier than planned. The rate of drawdown seen this year contrasts with the lower rate observed between harvest and the end of November last year. This was due to the extended use of the crop from the good growing season in 2017,” said Ms Maslowski.