Tuesday, 19 February, 2019

Over 100m kilos of potato produced last year

13 Feb 2018, 00:03 ( 13 Feb, 2018) | updated: 13 Feb 2018, 07:46 ( 13 Feb, 2018)

DF Report
Photo VisitFinland by Elina Sirparanta.

Farms in the country produced about 115 million kilograms of food and food-industry potatoes in the last potato season. 

Of this, food potatoes amounted to 100 million kilograms in the middle of January, according to the findings of the regular annual survey conducted by Natural Resources Institute-Luke.

Luke said this growing season has been challenging for potato farms. Heavy rainfall, early frost and unexpected cold weather have made potato farming difficult in many areas. Harvesting also took place later than usual. However, potato farms were able to have reasonable harvests.

“This is the third year in succession with difficult weather conditions. I would like to thank all farmers who, during harvesting, had the time to respond to the survey. The response rate was again high at 94 per cent,” said Anna-Kaisa Jaakkonen, a senior statistician at Luke.

Potato stocks have decreased by 81 million kilograms from the middle of October 2017 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, particularly in northern Ostrobothnia. 

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 kilograms.

When southern Ostrobothnia is included, the region accounted for 75 per cent of all Finnish food potato stocks.

In the middle of January, food potato stocks are estimated to be sufficient to cover domestic consumption.

Jaakkonen  said, “The sufficiency of potato stocks is largely affected by successful storage. This winter stock losses will result from evaporation, as stocks are 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.” 

According to the 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 19.04/100kg, while the price was EUR 16.44/100kg the year before. However, the price is much lower than that in the autumn of crop failure in 2012, when the producer price of food potato was EUR 28.53/100kg in December.

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.

This kind 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, 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.