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Production of potatoes in 2018. Preliminary data

Historic low production of table potatoes

Statistical news from Statistics Sweden and Swedish Board of Agriculture 2018-12-07 9.30

The Swedish potato production is estimated at 449 000 tonnes. This is lower than record low levels in modern times in 2006, 2007 and 2015, and also lower than the years of crop failure in 1867 and 1899.

In 1899, the amount of potatoes, turnips, roots and similar available per person in Sweden was estimated at 180.5 kilos. Potatoes were used mainly as food, for processing spirits and for the production of starch. Over time, the consumption of potatoes and root vegetables has decreased and, in 2016, the per capita consumption was estimated at 70 kilos, of which table potatoes accounted for 58 kilos. The 1867 crop failure caused famine in the country, while in 1899, potatoes were imported to a greater extent. The summer of 2018 was hot and dry throughout Northern Europe and countries such as the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Germany report crop losses of about 20 percent for potatoes, compared with 2017.

Hot weather and drought led to lower production of table potatoes

The reason for the low production in 2018 is mainly the hot and dry weather, as well as because a large proportion of the crop area was lifted as early potatoes; the proportion of organically grown potatoes has also increased. In a comparison with the previous year, it should be taken into account that large areas remained unharvested in 2017, which lowered the yield per hectare that year. Crops that were irrigated attained full yield level, but there was not always sufficient water for irrigation for the whole area and not all growers had the possibility to irrigate their crops. In some cases, the potato crop was left unharvested, since the yield was too poor and the tubers were too small. Individual farmers have been severely affected.

Total harvest of table potatoes is 17 percent lower than the last five-year average

The national production of table potatoes is estimated at 449 400 tonnes. Total production decreased by 77 600 tonnes, or 15 percent, compared with 2017.

This is 92 000 tonnes (17 percent) less compared with the average in 2013–2017.

The crop area for table potatoes, which is used for calculating the total production, amounted to 16 000 hectares in 2018. This area has decreased by 1 100 hectares, or 6 percent, compared with the previous year, which also contributes to the lower table potato production. Areas have decreased most in Skåne County and Västra Götaland County. The yield per hectare is estimated at 28 100 kilos, which is 9 percent lower than the previous year’s average yield per hectare.

Production of starch potatoes per hectare was 17 percent lower than 2017

The cultivated area with starch potatoes increased by more than 300 hectares and amounted to 7 800 hectares in 2018. Starch potatoes are cultivated mainly in Skåne County, Blekinge County and Kalmar County. The average yield is estimated at 34 620 kilos per hectare, which is 20 percent lower than in 2017. The total production is estimated at 270 800 tonnes, which is 17 percent lower than in 2017. The statistics include the production of starch potato for seed.

Table potatoes. Total harvests, 2009-2018. Tonnes
Production of potatoes in 2018. Preliminary data

Potatoes for starch. Total harvests, 2009-2018. Tonnes
Production of potatoes in 2018. Preliminary data


A more detailed report of this survey is published in the Statistical Report JO 17 SM 1701, which is available on the Statistics Sweden website and on the Swedish Board of Agriculture website at under Statistics.

Production of potatoes in 2018. Preliminary figures (summary in English) (pdf)

Next publishing will be

Final results for 2018 will be reported in the spring of 2019. These yield statistics are based on the data from all forms of cultivation that occur in the country. Yield statistics for organic and conventional cultivation will be reported in June 2019.

Feel free to use the facts from this statistical news but remember to state Source: Statistics Sweden.

Statistical agency

Swedish Board of Agriculture

+46 36 15 50 00


Ann-Marie Karlsson

+46 36 15 59 33


SCB, Agriculture and Energy Statistics Unit

701 89 Örebro


Gunnel Wahlstedt

+46 10 479 62 45