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East Anglian potato growers face ‘very difficult’ spring as wet weather takes its toll

Andrew Francis with a previous potato harvest from the Elveden Estate. Picture: SONYA DUNCANElveden Estate’s senior farms manager Andrew Francis admits it has been a “very difficult” spring. “Even on the lighter soils the constant wet weather and generally cool and overcast conditions have had a big impact,” said Andrew, whose operation near Thetford is taking part in an important potato growing project, as levy payers’ group AHDB’s Strategic Potato (or SPot) East Farm. “We are about seven to 10 days behind with our potato planting. This may have a significant impact on early season crop yield as our customers will still require crops for their factories by a certain date,” he said. “One of our battles has been unpredictable or vague weather forecasts,” he said. Andrew Blenkiron, estate director at the Euston Estate, near Thetford, said: “Even on our very light land it’s not going well, so it must be a nightmare on anything else. Beet and spuds are only about one third planted. More