Comment: Plantings are complete or nearing completion in most of the country, expect for Donegal, where ground conditions have deteriorated following recent high rainfall. Overall, the rainfall has been welcomed by growers – so far in May triple the amount of rainfall has been recorded at Oak Park compared with the entire amount that fell in May last year.

Preliminary IFA stock figures suggest that stocks are lower than at this time last year. At current projections, it will be mid- to late-August by the time new-season main-crop volumes will be present in the market.

Therefore, it is most likely that stocks will remain significantly tight for the rest of the season.

In the UK, free-buy whites are moving, but only slowly, and buyers are trying to force values lower.

Movement of contracts is also starting to lag noticeably behind, particularly in the south.

Across Europe, export demand to Spain and Portugal, as well as to eastern Europe, is showing signs of improvement. Demand is also improving in the processing sector and it is currently described as firm to strong, with some further price increases during the week.