Europe, UK, Ireland

Why potato growers need to be better prepared for drought

British farmers and growers are being urged to plan and manage their use of irrigation this year, as concerns about the effect of continued dry conditions on water supplies mount, according to a report by Farmers Weekly Online.

The report says that the latest information from the Environment Agency in the UK shows that river flows are below normal for this time of year, with irrigation prospects declared “moderate to poor” for areas that are reliant on chalk aquifers for supply.

Prospects for East Anglia, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire are now described as “poor”, while the situation in Yorkshire and the East Midlands is “moderate” in most catchments. Most other areas remain “moderate”, including Kent and the South East, West Midlands and the South West.

A “poor” rating is given where water levels are well below average, soil moisture deficit is developing early and significant restrictions on abstraction are probable.

The current situation comes on the back of a dry winter and a summer drought in 2018, which saw many farm businesses exposed to changes in the pattern and timing of rainfall, putting increased pressure on water supplies.

Read the full report on FWI here