Awards were presented by Duncan Worth at our March site on 17th March and personnel are as follows:-
L – R sitting
Geoff Hubbard, Terry Ward (30 year award), Bev Watts
L – R standing
Rob Stiff, Chris Brown, Trevor Haigh, Andy Larham, Kim Abbott, Patsy Hayter (20 year award), Mike Rimmer (back), Kirpal Chahal, Linda Stafford, Julie Russell, Gill Martin
Awards were presented by Tony Worth at our Holbeach site on 9th March and personnel are as follows:-
L – R , front to back
John Collins (30 year award) – Tony Worth - David Waterfall (20 year award)
Martin Pearson, Alan Turner
Joe Cook, Nick Hammond
Ken McGuire, Angela Crowhurst, Martin Jaynes
Alasdair MacInnes, Carol Day
Andre Calton, Mick Voss, Chris Rimmer
Nigel Pack, Jonathan Horn
The 2009 lifting season seems an age ago and based alone on the lifting dates it was near text book, with potato land in the main being clear by the 5th November.
The truth is; it was a testing time for all…!
Early crop values were poor due to the back log of material carried over from the 2008 crop allowing customers to take advantage of cheaper old crop supply keeping the pressure on any new crop general demand and values outside of contractual commitments. The main crop was witness to extremely dry conditions which led to exceptionally high Dry Matters, (some recorded as high as 30% in Fianna…!), in the East, with most areas needing to irrigate in front of harvesters to have any hope of lifting a bruise free crop. Additional grading was then needed with many Maris Piper crops to assist with higher than expected scab levels. Then even if lifted clean and with the worst of the scab graded out, many growers were left with a high DM sample being out of spec to many customers including processors. This has lead to issues with many direct customer growers having high levels of rejections with no merchant to assist with alternative outlets.
What’s in store for the remainder of this season is any ones call, but with the general feeling being one of plenty and the potential for many packing samples being down graded to fill processing orders which can operate with a darker fry colours; finding good sales values outside of contracted commitments is likely to remain tough especially in the process sector - With the seasons bruising and scab issues, there could be some potentially very good opportunities for the right packing samples if supermarkets don’t work with the quality restraints of the season. There will also be some plus’s for the right frying sample in the process sector and for those able to force the hand of the unscrupulous ‘fly by night’ merchants who took un-backed positions to gamble on the open market. Though the issue here is that the gamble becomes that of the grower with the concern of payment ever being made if the trade does turn against such merchants.
The backend of the season is the concern, if we see plenty of stock remaining and needing a home, the new market could again be under pressure leading to a similar season as this. The big plus is the Continent has seen similar problems but on a bigger scale and the feeling is it will be unlikely we will see much imported ware material hitting the UK shores. The strength of the Euro and haulage costs suppressing any opportunity further.
QV Foods now has a wide market in to all sectors of the processing market. This has allowed QV’s dedicated contract growers in most cases, to maintain contract values by juggling stocks to a varied customer base with alternative specifications better suited to particular stocks - This we hope demonstrates the importance of a respected merchants role and highlights that growers with backed contracts to QV have been the winners this season.
With the recent acquisition of the MBM business, QV’s processing outlets, supply base and overall facilities have increased massively - The takeover of the MBM March site has allowed QV to become the market leaders for the supply of specific & tightly size graded quality material. This along with the vast onsite storage facilities allow customers the confidence of both continued supply and any last minute order requirements being met. Along with the March and Holbeach sites, QV now have an office and dedicated team based in Norfolk developing and supplying key processing accounts across Norfolk. These increased locations allow a closer working relationship with customers and growers, creating a team environment where business is developed together and openly rather than the guarded nature seen with many alternative merchants and the ways of the past.
With the support and continued partnership developments with growers and customers, QV’s process sector in conjunction with the overall QV business structure and strategy looks set for a very successful future. We look forward to working with existing and new growers and customers in the future.
With the pressures on our customers by the supermarket giants, the sustainability of our industry is dependant on both the grower and customer working closely and openly to establish and demonstrate the true costs involved in supplying the specification requirements of the end user. It is therefore crucial we demonstrate accurate, competitive and realistic costings, along with demonstrating open but sustainable margins which customers will hopefully agree too, to secure a professional future supply.
Many key QV processing growers have supplied exact costings which have allowed us to create an average costing for next season’s crop which we have supplied openly to the customer - We now wait for customer’s response and finalised contract prices. As suppliers to QV in the past you will have received and been asked to complete variety & potential volume ‘wish lists’ which will enable us on the release of the customers finalised contract prices, to tie to indicated volumes and dates. QV will then advise accordingly and if in agreement contracts will be drawn for signing - If you have not received a ‘wish list’ and would like one, please contact your QV representative or email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Availability and quality of seed potatoes crop 2009 shows a mixed picture and knowledge of stock history and tuber quality has never been more important.
Central areas of Scotland were wet throughout much of the summer and as a result, Blackleg and bacterial soft rots are at higher levels than might be expected in stocks of susceptible varieties, Markies, Desirée, Maris Piper etc. Powdery scab is also present. Although drier during the growing season, the Borders and North of Scotland suffered from the very heavy rainfall in late- September and storage quality of some crops has been affected.
Seed production in England and Wales, although generally drier throughout the summer, shows some issues with Common scab and Black dot.
Though seed yields have generally been good, tuber counts and small:large splits are often lower than expected.
Following increased production costs for 2009, controlled-variety prices are generally higher than last year, and these values are likely to be maintained by most controllers. Free-market variety values reflect market conditions.
Demand for seed has picked up significantly in recent weeks with good quality stocks of many varieties now being difficult to find; the weak pound has helped export trade and Desirée for the domestic market is difficult to source with many of the stocks offered being those considered unsuitable for export due to store rots and/or Blackleg.
Maris Piper availability should closely match ware planting demand, but with 20% of the crops being downgraded due to virus and other defects, some of the low values quoted will only be supplied from poorer stocks.
Indications from CSL and other laboratories suggest virus levels in home-saved seed stocks are significantly higher than normal in many stocks, making them unsuitable for use; this is likely to lead to late demand for many stocks.
Varieties virtually sold out include Harmony (although 55x60 mm material is still available), Maritiema (although Dutch origin 30x35 mm is a very cost effective plant), Markies, Melody and Maris Bard.
Varieties with reasonable availability, but where stock selection should be an important consideration, include Estima (now with highergrade SE1 and Pre-basic 4 stocks more widely available), Almera, Marfona, Saxon, Santé, Victoria and Maris Piper.
Newer varieties with limited availability for ware crop 2010 which showed promise in 2009 and would be well worth considering for inclusion in the coming season include Casablanca, a very early, first early with good dry matter for the early chipping market, Esmé and Galante which should significantly increase growers’ returns in the premium salad markets and Ramos, the best prospect for long-term storage from an early maincrop for the processing and chipping markets.