UK potato growers could be on track for a profitable year as prices surge on the back of a 7.8 per cent reduction in the area planted as growers responded to recent low prices.

The GB average price for the week to September 18 was £151.51/tonne compared with £119.56/t last year.

Although it is early days yet, with the harvest delayed by the weather and progressing at the slowest pace for 5 years, there is every chance that the final total yield could be one of the lowest since 1960, and well behind last year's record-breaking crop.

* Meanwhile, a key date in the potato calendar is getting closer. BP 2015 ( takes place in Harrogate on November 12 and 13.

Scottish growers will join others to make the pilgrimage to this unique Potato Industry event which only happens every two years and has an attendance of around 6,000.

It is the chance to meet suppliers and customers face-to-face, explore contract opportunities, discuss seed choices, monitor competitors, and hear from the experts and market pundits at panels on the seminar programme.

Market round-up

United Auctions sold 579 store heifers at Stirling on Wednesday to a top of 251.8p per kg and an average of 210.7p (-3p on the week), while 675 store, beef-bred bullocks peaked at 267.1p and levelled at 212.4p (-8p). One-hundred-and-twenty-five store, B&W bullocks sold to 157p and averaged 146.9p (+5.2p).

In the rough ring 139 cows averaged 120.1p.

The firm also had 1686 Blackface ewe lambs forward at their second sale when accredited ones sold to £70 and averaged £51.45 (-£8.35 on the year), while non-accredited peaked at £83 and levelled at £46.60 (-£2.06).

C&D Auction Marts Ltd had 35 prime cattle forward in Dumfries on Wednesday when heifers sold to 223.5p and averaged 190.9p, while bullocks peaked at 206.5p and levelled at 193.9p.

There were 84 OTM cattle presented in the rough ring when beef cows averaged 122.8p and dairy cows levelled at 87.3p.

The firm also sold 1141 prime lambs to a top of £74.50 per head and 172p per kg to average 150.2p (+0.4p on the week).

The 667 cast sheep forward saw heavy ewes sell to £78.50 for Texels and average £59.26 (+82p), while light ewes peaked at £56.50 for Blackfaces and levelled at £38.26 (-£2.57).

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 1660 prime lambs in Newton Stewart on Wednesday to a top of £75.50 and 168.3p to average 148.6p (+1.6p).

There were also 302 cast sheep forward when ewes sold to £98 for Texels and £54 for Blackfaces.