Rain has restricted Cornish new potato harvesting, helping prices recover to about £450/tonne following a dip caused by the earliest season for four years.

Mild weather prior to the rain meant lifting started three weeks early, with 1,800 tonnes of Cornish new potatoes lifted last week compared with 330 tonnes by the same time last year.

However, a clash of seasons with Jersey Royals has meant prices have fallen more rapidly than usual this year, to average £393/tonne compared with £463/t last year.

"If it's too wet it can become difficult getting harvesters through the fields because the stickiness of the soil restricts the movement of machinery," said Rob Burrow at the British Potato Council.

"Supermarkets are now gradually moving over to Cornish crop and the volume of orders is increasing. Pembroke are lifting a few at the moment and some areas have started to lift a few in Kent, Suffolk, Cheshire and Shropshire."