After nearly 100 years of growing potatoes here, at Easter Rhynd, the decision has been made to stop growing.
For the first time in a long while we will not be planting potatoes this spring. It has been an extremely tough decision and one that has taken a long time to reach but we feel it is the best way to take our business forward.
There are a number of reasons we have gone from growing close to 500 acres just four years ago to growing nothing at all this year but the biggest issue we identified is the increasing production and the decreasing consumption of potatoes in the UK. Like any product or service, when supply outstrips demand the producer is left in a very weak marketing position. This has been the case with potatoes in recent years with the problem being exacerbated by some of the highest yields seen for a long time across the country last year. This meant the UK farmers produced close to 6 million tonnes while the UK market only demands around 4.5 million causing a very low priced year for the second year running. We do not see this problem improving significantly in the next few years.
Our aim now we are no longer going to be growing potatoes is to concentrate fully on our cereal operation. With the labour, costs and time freed up from the potato operation we feel we can make a better job of the cereals and change the shape of our business to better suit an all cereal operation.
Having spent the last 25 years working and structuring our business into a large potato producing unit it has been a very sad and tough decision to make but we must look to the future and move onwards and upwards!