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16 November 2017 14:19:32 |Arable,Crops and Cereals,News

'Worst harvests in living memory' for Northern Irish potato farmers

Potato farmers are experiencing one of the ‘worst harvests ever', a farming union has explained

Potato farmers are experiencing one of the ‘worst harvests ever', a farming union has explained

Northern Irish potato farmers are experiencing one of the worst harvests in living memory, according to a farming union.
The long stretch of wet weather that has blighted Northern Ireland has meant that fields have been virtually inaccessible until recently.
Some growers have only been able to get into their fields for the first time this month, explained Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) potato chairman Robert Sibbett.
“Potatoes are rotting in the field because it’s so wet. I’m normally finished harvesting the potatoes by the time the clocks change. I don’t remember it being this bad since the wet weather in 1985. It’s having a knock-on effect on everything else,” said Mr Sibbett.
In some cases, the situation is so bad growers have abandoned harvest attempts until the New Year due to the poor ground conditions.
There are also reports that small amounts of rot are being found in harvested potatoes in storage.

“These unfavourable conditions affect the quantity of marketable produce coming out of the ground. It is proving to be another financially testing harvest,” explained Mr Sibbett.
"Growers are doing their best to adjust to the poor weather and the challenges it brings to harvesting their crops. Growers should continue to market their crops strongly and hope that these efforts are given due merit from buyers, processors and retailers.”
Scotland’s farmers and crofters have also faced the challenge of an exceptionally wet summer and autumn.
This has spurred on the government to create a special advisory panel to help Scottish farmers respond to the effects of extreme weather.


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