British growers have managed to lift 89 per cent of the UK potato harvest despite being subjected to what has so-far been the wettest year since 2012.
AHDB Potatoes says that the success of the harvest, together with the volume of stored crop, manes that the nation’s “Christmas roasties and crisps are expected to be safe.” However, it also warned that challenges remain for farmers who are still unable to lift crops due to wet or flooded ground. These include issues around cash flow and the cost of labour while machinery lays idle.
Head of Arable Market Intelligence at AHDB, David Eudall, said, “Farmers have worked through challenging conditions to harvest the majority of potatoes planted this year, which is a testament to their resilience. However, for those who couldn’t lift earlier in the year the saturated or flooded ground is affecting their ability to access the crop, particularly in the north west of the country, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
“Current data shows that two-to-three per cent of the crop is now unlikely to be lifted due to saturated soils degrading quality. This figure could rise as we head into December if weather conditions don’t improve. For the remainder of potatoes in the ground, it will remain a question of whether quality will hold up for lifting in the New Year. Financially, it will be a challenging period for those who were unable to lift crop during the drier weather and growers will be monitoring drainage and the depth of winter frosts carefully, as these will affect what’s salvageable.”
Historically 2012 was the last wettest year when 375mm of rain fell in the UK, but this was not as wet as 2000, when according to data from AHDB’s weather hub, a total of 498mm hit the country.
Photo source: AHDB