Potato growers across Ireland turn to irrigation to protect crops

Potato grower Denis O'Connor & his twin sons Aidan & Rory are pictured at Ballyvodock Farm Midleton where he has been irrigating the main crop of Roosters for the past two weeks. 15 ml of water are deposited for every pass over the crop. Photo: O'Gorman Photography.Potato growers right across Ireland are being forced to irrigate crops in an effort to protect yields. Farmers report that the continuing drought is putting serious pressure on potato crops, and that rain will be needed over the next fortnight to prevent significant yield losses. “Unless potatoes are irrigated, they will be under serious pressure,” claimed Michael Hennessy of Teagasc. “Potato growers are effectively irrigating crops to try and protect yields,” he said. The late plantings this year due to the atrocious spring weather conditions has left the spud crop more susceptible to drought, explained East Cork tillage farmer Denis O’Connor. “The problem is that crops were planted so late, they just can’t take the punishment,” he said. Mr O’Connor said the crops that have been irrigated were doing okay, but those that were not getting water were “in trouble”. “Yields will definitely be hit,” he said. (Source: Indo Farming)