Europe, UK, Ireland

Clock ticking on potato health for Scottish potato farmers

Following 79.4mm or 3.12 inches of rain in October in the Borders area, November has not fared much better, with waterlogged fields everywhere.

No autumn drilling or potato lifting has been possible in the first 10 days of this month, but we certainly have not had the rain that has fallen in in Yorkshire and other parts of Northern England when they had a month’s rain in one day and led to severe flooding.

That part of England accounts for more than 30% of the potato processing area and 18% of the total UK planted area, and just two weeks ago this region had lifted less than 50% of that planted area. With this figure being 30% for the whole of the UK the ongoing heavy rainfall means that no progress has been made since then.

That means that the potato crop in wet ground is now approaching the point of being un-salvageable and in the next few weeks, any crop left in the ground is likely to stay there.

Some crops already lifted into store from this area are already suffering from rots, growth cracks and general breakdown due to going into store in a wet state, and the amount of waste and breakdown will be a major factor in determining prices as we go through the winter.

Read the full report in Scottish Farmer here