There is a severe risk that much of the potato crop will not be harvested if the wet weather continues, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).
Issuing the warning, IFA National Potato Committee chairman Thomas McKeown noted that, nationally, only 30% of the potato crop is harvested.
Normally, such a figure would be closer to 60% at this time of year. Due to wet conditions, harvesting losses will be higher which will result in lower saleable yields.
In the north-east region where half of the national crop is sown, growers have experienced almost double the normal average rainfall in August and September. Harvesting of the main crop in this region is three weeks behind last year.
National potato acreage, currently at 8,100ha, is the second lowest on record and only 3% above last year’s all-time low of 7,900ha.
IFA National Grain Committee chairman Mark Browne said there is an impending problem with a large number of tillage farmers who don’t have winter cereals planted yet.