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Northern Ireland: First early potatoes on track for early June harvest

Last week, the planting of the first earlies got under way in earnest throughout in their traditional heartland area of Comber and North Down. Wilson’s Country agronomist Stuart Meredith: “Weather depending, the first of this year’s Comber Earlies will be ready for harvest around the beginning of June. Varieties planted over the past week or so include Home Guard, Accord and Dunluce.”

Meredith made these comments while visiting the Newtownards farm of William Gilmore. The latter added: “Our land has dried up remarkably well over recent days. Planting seed potatoes can be a bit of a lottery. It’s all about the weather. If we get an early spring, then it is possible to get seed into the ground before the end of February. Some years, though, have seen us planting first earlies in mid-April. Assuming a normal growing season, we should be digging the first of this year’s new season crops by the end of May or early June.”

Gilmore also told farminglife.com: “The tremendous resurgence in consumer demand for locally grown potatoes has been a very welcome development. Hopefully, this momentum will be maintained throughout 2021 and beyond. Potatoes are a very expensive crop to grow. Northern Ireland is home to many of the best potato growers in the world. The quality of their produce, which is available in local shops throughout the year, is testimony to their skill, commitment and expertise.”

 


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