Scottish potatoes have helped keep the whole British potato sector afloat, after 2018's tough weather conditions 'massively reduced' production in England.

According to statistics from AHDB, Scotland's producers dodged the worst of the drought, and their stored potatoes have become increasingly important to maintain nationwide supply as 2019 has progressed.

AHDB analyst Aidan Wright explained: “The start of the season saw massively reduced production across GB, mitigated in part by a large carryover from the 2017 crop.

“Scotland has remained fairly stable with large quantities of old crop potatoes being marketed well into the new season. This helped reduce dependence on new crop at the start of the season. The relatively healthy situation north of the border means that Scottish production has been supporting demand down south.

“Since harvest, Scottish potatoes have made a slow and steady exit from grower stores, heading south of the border and over the Channel to mainland Europe," said Mr Wright.

“While the 2019 crop appears to be coming on well at this stage, the reserves of potatoes left in Scotland will go some way to ensuring packing supply across GB for the remainder of the season. Exports continue to storm ahead and the majority of this is assumed to be of Scottish supply.”

Previously responsible for a quarter of GB levels, figures up to the end of March show that Scottish growers now account for 34% of total grower held stocks. A mixture of heavy demand and issues with ambient storage saw above average drawdown between Nov-Jan in England and Wales. However, drawdown rates in Scotland remained steady with better quality helping potatoes keep better in stores.

To ensure their statistics on GB production and stocks are robust, AHDB runs regular surveys on stock levels – at the end of November, the end of January and the end of March – using their grower panel, a group of approximately 500 registered potato growers who provide information on seed use, yields, stocks and sales from their farm.