The total area in Great Britain planted with potatoes is 119,000 hectares, a fall of 3% on the previous year, according to AHDB.
This is the third-lowest planted area on record. The ultimate size of the potato crop, and how the market firms in response, will not be known until harvest.
The news comes in a challenging season for potato growers, with an agricultural drought likely to affect yields.
AHDB’s sector strategy director for potatoes, Dr Rob Clayton, believes that a resilient industry will maintain the supply of our British-grown crop. He comments: “This has been a tough and stressful season for growers, we do not underestimate that. However, we welcome news that supply chains are working closer than ever before, and that continual improvements are leading to reduced food waste at all points from the grower to the consumer.
“The season started with sub-zero temperatures brought by ‘the beast from the East’, followed by a wet spring that delayed planting. Since then, we’ve seen one of the driest combined June and July periods on record, so most growers are reporting that yields will be down.
“Farmers have been working round the clock to minimise this, with teams working overnight so that any water used does not evaporate in the hot sun. There is still some growing season to go, so it is impossible to accurately predict how far down they will be.
“Variables such as the weather and the availability of irrigation could go some way to mitigating earlier conditions.
Dr Clayton is ruling out a potato shortage, adding: “What we are likely to see are smaller potatoes, but levels of vitamins and fibre will be unaffected and potatoes will remain a great value food.”