With 10% of last yearâ€™s potato crop still in the ground in Northern Ireland, some farmers have recently rushed out in the good weather to try and salvage them â€“ though theyâ€™ve had to give up this past week. The Scottish Farmer reports.
The dry break in the unusual winter weather has given some potato farmers hope of saving the last of their crops before any inclement weather sets in.
One of those farmers on a rescue mission is North Down grower, Derek Erwin, who farms with his son, Ethan. Taking advantage of a recent few days of dry conditions in late January/early February, the father and son team were attempting to harvest a crop of Cultra, on the outskirts of Dundonald, which they first started into last October.
Derek said: â€œThe potatoes should have been lifted before the end of October. But the constant rain at that time made completion of the harvest just impossible.
Derek expected that the crop yields in the fields now being harvested will be down between 15 and 20%. He said: â€œThat figure is made up by a combination of winter kills and potatoes that simply rotted in the wet conditions. However, those potatoes that are making the boxes are of surprisingly good quality. Skin finish is excellent and tuber size is very even.â€