Potato growers could be the first in farming to suffer in a no-deal Brexit outcome, because seed for the crop might not be available. Teagasc potato specialist Shay Phelan has urged growers to order or take delivery of seed for 2019 as soon as possible, to avoid a no-deal Brexit on March 29, 2019, delaying delivery.
About 40-50% of the Rooster and Kerr’s Pink potato seed for Ireland comes from the UK; for other varieties, it is a significantly higher percentage.
.The optimum planting time for maincrop potatoes is March and April, if soil conditions are suitable. But the danger of leaving seed orders to the last minute has been spelled out.
Teagasc has highlighted the potato situation, but it illustrates that any farmer depending on farm inputs which come from the UK could be affected by a no-deal Brexit stopping deliveries until trading agreements are put in place, which could take months.
Even without Brexit, potato seed yields and supply are likely to have been reduced by the summer drought in Ireland and the UK, after Bord Bia yield digs showed this year’s potato yields were the lowest since 2012. In addition, according to Shay.