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The Industry

Supply Chain

3 March 2011

Grower numbers

As the industry rationalises, the number of growers continues to shrink but long term production levels remain relatively stable and turnover per grower is now around £270,000, versus £27,000 in 1970 (adjusted for inflation to a 2009 £ basis).Approximately 2500 growers manage 23,700 potato fields (registered growers are 3ha or more) with an average field size above 5 hectares.

Main-crop varieties account for almost two-thirds of the area grown and yields have nearly doubled from just under 23t/ha in1960 to over 45t/ha in 2009 in spite of the recent apparent plateau. This reflects the considerable amount of industry research, investment and innovation over the years.  Modern growers are highly specialised and have good access to the best agronomy and other technical skills informed by Potato Council tools and products, leading to better yields per ha and to a higher quality product in a more demanding market. The trend towards highly specialised and capital-intensive businesses is likely to continue. The consequence for Potato Council is that audiences within each business will continue to change and we will require new approaches and tools to ensure thorough engagement and translation of information into tangible beneficial outcomes within businesses.

GB Potato yields

Average Yields per ha have doubled since 1960, due to improved agronomy, balancing a halving in planted area. Since 1992 yields have fluctuated around 44.8 t/ha and production appears relatively stable (with weather related fluctuations) at just under 130,000 ha (6m tonnes).The GB Potato industry delivers sales-value of £947m at farm gate and £3.8bn at consumer level. Notably the growers’ share of the value-chain is still shrinking and this is driving increasing industrialisation of production systems. The apparent recent plateau in yields may be a function of reduced crop protection tools, changes in agronomy and introduction of new varieties with different characteristics. Potato Council’s strategies relating to crop protection and agronomy will help to combat this apparent challenge to increasing profitability.

Grower numbers continue to shrink but long term production levels remain relatively stable and turnover per grower is now around £376,000, versus £28,000 in 1970 (adjusted for inflation to a 2010 £ basis).Approximately 2500 growers manage 23,700 potato fields (registered growers are 3ha or more) with an average field size above 5 hectares.

Main-crop varieties account for almost two-thirds of the area grown and yields have nearly doubled from just under 23t/ha in1960 to over 46t/ha in 2010 in spite of the recent apparent .