The potato harvest has come to a halt once again due to the unduly wet weather. The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) estimated that between 50% and 70% of potatoes had been lifted this week.
Farmers got a lot of work done in the early part of last week. However, progress is variable. Some farmers in the north of the country are estimated to have up to 70% of their crops out of the ground. This is also reported to be the case in Co. Donegal where approximately 60-70% of crops are harvested. Further south, progress is slower but, overall, most farmers look to have 50% of their crops out of the ground.
While yields aren’t reported to be breaking records they are good, but difficult harvest conditions are making digging hard and as the wet weather continues there is more risk of potatoes being left behind. Looking across the water in the UK and it seems to be a similar story. Farmers in the south of England are struggling in wet conditions, while the harvest has progressed well in Scotland.
On the price front, there has been no change in recent weeks. A box of roosters is still retailing as low as €360 /box and as high as €400 /box, according to the IFA’s potato price report. This is translating to €3.90 /bag up to €4.60 /bag for a 10kg bag of roosters. A 10kg bag of Kerr Pinks is selling from €5 /bag to €5.50 /bag.
Minister asked to reintroduce crop loss support measures
Minister Michael Creed is being called on to reintroduce support measures relating to crop loss during inclement weather, to assist growers affected by wet conditions at harvest.
Mattie McGrath, an independent TD for Tipperary, said the minister should “urgently consider” reintroducing the Weather-Related Crop Loss Support Measure Scheme. The measure was introduced in July 2017 following adverse conditions during the harvest period in 2016. It consisted of targeted supports for crop losses. Minister Creed has previously said, back in 2018, that the scheme was a “one-off measure” relating specifically to the 2016 harvest.