The continued wet weather is now creating real concerns that a large proportion of the Irish potato crop will remain un-harvested. In the north-east region, where half of Ireland’s potatoes are produced, growers have experienced almost double the normal average rainfall in August and September.
On 22 October, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) National Potato Committee chairman Thomas McKeown said that only 30 per cent of the potato crop had been harvested nationally, around half the average figure of 60 per cent at this stage of the season. In addition the wet weather means that crops losses will be much higher, resulting in lower marketable yield. Overall harvest is some three weeks behind normal levels.
Normally, such a figure would be closer to 60% at this time of year. Due to wet conditions, harvesting losses will be higher which will result in lower saleable yields, which will compound the fact that this year’s national potato acreage is currently estimated at just 8,100 ha – the second lowest on record and only 3 per cent above last year’s all-time low of 7,900ha.
Photo caption: Wet weather looks set to reduce an already small Irish potato harvest
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons