Europe, UK, Ireland

British potato farmers fear yields will be hit as mercury rises

Robert Strathern of Fairfields Farm with his potato crop, which is under stress because of the hot weather Picture: ROBERT STRATHERNRobert Strathern, who farms at Wormingford, near Colchester, said preliminary investigations suggest his early crop of potatoes, which he may begin harvesting as early as next week (July 9 onwards), could be down by 25 to 30% on the average. Like many farmers, he has faced a prolonged period of hot weather with no rain. “Potatoes are the main crop we grow,” he said. “They are looking a bit unhappy about life at the moment. We have not had any rain and it has been very hot. They were planted late this year because of the cold and wet, horrible spring, then it’s flipped into hot, dry drought, so they have not established themselves as well.” Robert and wife Laura run a highly successful crisp-making diversification, Fairfields Farm crisps, and have an on-site factory where they are made, using local flavours and ingredients where possible. Production won’t be affected as there will be enough potatoes to supply it, but he admitted as farmers they were concerned. Read more