Cultivation/Production, Health/Nutrition/Food Safety, Sustainability

Jersey: Potato growers take action to reduce level of nitrates

16703558Potato growers have identified two areas where farming practices must change this winter to prevent a repeat of the water pollution that shut Val de la Mare reservoir for five months earlier this year. A month away from the planting of the early crop of the 2017 potato season, the Island’s biggest potato producer, the Jersey Royal Company, is reducing the amount of agricultural chemicals that go on the land. The company is also proposing to bring in machinery that has never before been used in the Island for applying fertiliser to reduce nitrate levels in Jersey’s water. The Island’s nitrate levels are the highest in Europe and are said to be largely caused by farming. The Jersey Royal Company’s technical director, Mike Renouard, said: ‘We will be switching to chemicals that are less likely to leach into the water supply because they bind to the soil more. And instead of applying fungicide to the land when potatoes are planted, it is being applied to the tubers as we are standing the seed potatoes ready for planting.’ (Source: Jersey Evening Post)

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