As the industry rationalises, the number of growers continues to shrink but long term production levels remain relatively stable and turnover per grower is now around £270,000, versus £27,000 in 1970 (adjusted for inflation to a 2009 £ basis).Approximately 2500 growers manage 23,700 potato fields (registered growers are 3ha or more) with an average field size above 5 hectares.
Main-crop varieties account for almost two-thirds of the area grown and yields have nearly doubled from just under 23t/ha in1960 to over 45t/ha in 2009 in spite of the recent apparent plateau. This reflects the considerable amount of industry research, investment and innovation over the years. Modern growers are highly specialised and have good access to the best agronomy and other technical skills informed by Potato Council tools and products, leading to better yields per ha and to a higher quality product in a more demanding market. The trend towards highly specialised and capital-intensive businesses is likely to continue. The consequence for Potato Council is that audiences within each business will continue to change and we will require new approaches and tools to ensure thorough engagement and translation of information into tangible beneficial outcomes within businesses.