In many places in the Netherlands, farmers cannot yet harvest the last part of the potatoes in the ground due to the heavy rainfall in recent weeks. This increases the risks that part of the harvest will fail, which could have consequences for the prices of fries in particular.
This is what Hendrik Jan ten Cate, director of agricultural organization ZLTO and arable farmer in Tholen, says.
“A large part of the potatoes have already been harvested, but about 20 percent are still in the ground. In some places it is still too wet to go onto the land with the machines,” says Ten Cate. The risk is that the machines will get stuck in the ground. He estimates that some of the potatoes that are still in the ground cannot be harvested.
According to the farmer, there are still mainly potatoes in the ground that are intended for the production of fries. If part of the harvest fails, the yield per hectare will be lower and that will affect prices. It is not yet possible to say when and to what extent these effects will be visible. “The market is not reacting much to it yet, but everything depends on the quality of the potatoes that emerge from the ground,” says Ten Cate.
“Potatoes that are submerged in water for too long can suffocate and rot and in some soil types, such as heavy clay, it is almost impossible to get the chip potatoes to the surface in a decent way,” says the farmer.
All year long, arable farming has suffered from what Ten Cate calls a “bizarre growing season”, with alternating very wet and very dry periods. Until mid-October it was even too dry to harvest in some places, which was a reason for many entrepreneurs to postpone the harvest. “It is very exciting what will happen this fall. The prospects are not very good,” concludes Ten Cate.
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