Potato Growers Say Rising Costs are Exposing them to Risks

By Hari Yellina
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Costs are spiralling out of control, exerting pressure on Tasmanian potato producers who may have to switch crops. Leigh Elphinstone, a farmer from Sisters Creek, Tasmania, and head of the Simplot potato grower committee, agrees. He claimed that the cost of farming potatoes had increased by around 25%. “It’s making things very difficult for us, and it’s putting us in danger,” he said. “The cost of living is soaring out of control. It has a significant impact on potatoes, as they are one of the most expensive crops to farm per hectare. “Fertilizer prices have increased by almost 100% in the last year, owing to increased global availability. “Growing potatoes comes at a high cost with little return or profit.”

As a result, Mr Elphinstone said it was “pretty uncertain times.” “We’re in the midst of harvesting for a fairly challenging season,” he remarked. “People’s crops have had a lot more quality concerns, so the harvest has been pushed back because the quality hasn’t been up to par with what the corporation expects. “With a wet spring and a late planting, crops didn’t get into the ground as quickly as we had hoped, and we haven’t had an optimum growing season, so yields are down significantly.” “This lowered people’s returns in a year when cots were at their highest level ever.” “Morale has sunk, and there are alternative options to consider.” I believe a significant number of people would consider other possibilities, such as grain.”

Potato Growers Association: A Background

The group [now known as WA Potatoes] is the state’s leading industry organisation, representing potato growers from all around the state.

The Association represents approximately 100 growers and offers the following services to the industry:

  • Representation and Advocacy
  • Regular Grower Updates
  • Research and Development Marketing and Promotion Communications

The majority of the growers are members of a family. Some of them are even second or third generation. And you’ll find them all over Western Australia’s southwest region, assuring a steady supply of freshly grown potatoes today, tomorrow, and the next day.


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