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U.K. Farmers Union Sees Potato Yields ‘Significantly Reduced’

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Potato yields in the U.K. were “significantly reduced” because of cool, wet weather this summer, and farmers unable to meet production contracts may need to buy on the open market, the National Farmers Union said.

Potato prices have “reached unprecedented levels for this time of year,” as demand outstrips production, the Stoneleigh, England-based NFU said today in a statement on its website. Soggy weather also increased farmers’ production costs and boosted disease pressure. About 70 percent of potatoes in England and Wales are grown on fixed contracts, the NFU said.

“I have already heard of some buyers taking a pragmatic approach because they recognize that the shortages have largely been out of the growers’ control,” NFU potato forum Chairman Tim Papworth said in the statement. “I can’t remember a year quite like this. Our members have been working exceptionally hard to try and meet their customers’ requirements.”

June, July and August were the wettest in the U.K. since 1912, according to the Met Office.

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in London at wmcferron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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