Thousands of strawberry plants currently under water as a result of severe flooding in Northern Ireland are feared lost.
Philip Fox grows strawberries for a number of outlets on his Foxberry Fruit Farm in Derrytrasna near Lurgan but this year’s crop is currently subjected to three feet of water. He has 42,000 plants in the field which is submerged. The strawberry plants are above the water, but still might be lost.
Philip said: “We cannot get to the plants to cut off all the brown and yellow leaves to let this year’s growth emerge. This is a routine task to reduce disease risk that should be carried out before the middle of January. The field is under three feet of water and we have been out with a boat to survey the damage. Lough Neagh is nearby and has shown record high levels of water this year. We will lose over £20,000 if we cannot salvage the plants.”
But Philip is not alone as the business next door has 70,000 lettuces currently under water as well.
Derrylard Nurseries near Maghery grows salads for all the major supermarkets in Northern Ireland but fears that it could lose business as a result of the floods.
Business owner Seamus Donnelly said: “We have around 70,000 lettuces in a polytunnel under water. I don’t think they can survive the flooding which will costs us tens of thousands of pounds. The bigger problem is that we could lose supply contracts with the supermarkets if we are unable to maintain a consistent supply to them. We planted the lettuces in November and they were due for harvest in March but I am not sure if they will make it. It would be tough for them to survive. As it was a mild enough winter the plants came on well in growth but now they are ruined.”
Written by Chris McCullough