About 35% of the expected potato acreage in the Spanish region of Castile-Leon has yet to be planted, according to Eduardo Arroyo, president of the Association of Potato Producers of Castile-Leon (APPACYL).
The planting has been temporarily suspended due to persistent rains in recent weeks, making it necessary to stagger it, which entails advantages for the marketing of the potatoes. The rains have also had a very positive impact on the early plantings that started in March, which have already started to sprout.
However, the rainfall has also brought problems. In some areas, a lot of water has fallen and the land is waterlogged, with a serious risk of root suffocation and plant rot. If temperatures rise, this high humidity can lead to fungal diseases spreading. "Very wet years are never good in terms of production," says Arroyo. "The plant needs a firm soil in order to develop well. Therefore, the yields this year will likely not be very high."
The rains, together with the coronavirus, have also limited the presence of producers in the fields, so the acreage will most likely not increase and remain similar to last year's, with around 19,000 hectares.