Launch of this year's season due to unusually cool May just now

Upper Austria: New potatoes are late this year

The Upper Austrian potato growers will start another season after the very dry year that was 2018. This year, food retailers could not be consistently supplied with domestic potatoes, for the first time since the Second World War, said Eferdinger Landl chairman Manfred Schauer at a press conference. But the new season initially gave reason for optimism.

From left to right: Schauer (Chairman Eferdinger-Landl), Grabmayr (Vice President LK Upper Austria) and Mayr (GF Eferdinger-Landl). Picture: © LK OÖ

Wireworm infestation
By mid-April, it looked like we were going to have an unprecedented early start," said Schauer. However: The cool May weather has then shifted the vegetation growth back 14 days. In general, climate change is causing problems for the farmers: "For years, it has been apparent that the dry pannonian climate of eastern Austria stretches out towards Upper Austria's central region," explained the chairman. In addition to heat, the so-called 2018 wireworm infestation has also added to the farmers' woes.

Although the Eferdinger Becken had achieved some success by watering the mature tubers, some farms had to dispose of 30 to 50 percent of the harvest, explains Ewald Mayr, managing director of Eferdinger Landl-Erdäpfel group. Even anger over the high prices for foreign goods spread: "We would wish that we would achieve the same prices," said representatives of the Eferdinger-Landl group.

Faraway countries & foreign production conditions
"Particularly for potatoes from Egypt and Israel, pesticides may be used that have been banned in Austria for decades," says Mayr. He also pointed to the transport routes and social aspects such as the poor pay of Egyptian field workers. In addition, some farmers are now switching from food to industrial potatoes, as Karl Grabmayr, Vice President of the Upper Austrian Chamber of Agriculture, explained: "It is worrying food and drink producers that Austrians are increasingly accessing finished products. Of the 50 kilos per capita consumption per year, about 30 kilos and -60 percent- of the consumption are already processed industrially. In developing countries, this share is five percent. An indication of our affluent society."

For more information:
Erzeugergemeinschaft Eferdinger Landl-Erdäpfel
GF: Manfred Schauer
Wörth 20
4070 Eferding
Tel: +43 664 4154444
Fax: +43 7272 2676

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