Most viewed stories, New Zealand, Australia, Sustainability, Trends, Weather/Climate

The fragile fate of Aussie spuds: Battling climate and another threat of shortage

In an enthralling tale of climatic challenges and agricultural resilience, Australia’s potato industry confronts yet another threat of shortage, barely a year after the last hot chip crisis. Elsie Adamo‘s report for ABC Rural, titled “Potato shortages likely in Australia’s future as more extreme weather events make industry vulnerable” paints a vivid picture of the precarious situation facing one of the nation’s favorite crops.

Terry Buckley, a leading potato grower in South Australia, reveals the industry’s vulnerability to extreme weather, with ideal growing temperatures for potatoes ranging between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. The industry, still reeling from previous shortages due to wet weather in Victoria and Tasmania, finds itself at the mercy of increasingly frequent heatwaves and heavy rainfall.

Buckley’s narration offers a glimpse into the complex challenges of potato farming. Growers like him are bound by strict contracts dictating the specific varieties they can cultivate, leaving little room for preemptive action against potential bad seasons. This year, although yields look promising, Buckley warns that the industry is always just a few adverse weather events away from another shortage.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts more widespread heatwaves, adding strain to an already burdened industry. Amidst these challenges, the industry eyes the export market as a potential buffer against domestic fluctuations.

Source: ABC Rural. Read the full story here
Photo: Credit ABC Rural / Elsie Adamo

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