Potato harvest nearly complete despite rain

Christmas roasties and crisps are expected to be safe despite the adverse weather conditions
Christmas roasties and crisps are expected to be safe despite the adverse weather conditions

British farmers have nearly completed the country's potato harvest despite the wettest year so far since 2012.

Farmers and growers have persevered in the face of adversity to complete 89 percent of the potato harvest.

Due to the success of the harvest and volume of stored crop Christmas roasties and crisps are expected to be safe.

However, the challenge for farmers still unable to lift crops due to wet or flooded ground will now be cash flow and the cost of labour while machinery lays idle.



AHDB Head of Arable Market Intelligence, David Eudall, said farmers have worked through challenging conditions to harvest the majority of potatoes planted this year - a 'testament to their resilience'.

“However, for those who couldn’t lift earlier in the year the saturated or flooded ground is affecting their ability to access the crop, particularly in the north west of the country, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire,” he said.



Current data shows that 2-3 percent of the crop is now unlikely to be lifted due to saturated soils degrading quality.

Mr Eudall added that this figure could rise into December if weather conditions don’t improve.

He said: “For the remainder of potatoes in the ground, it will remain a question of whether quality will hold up for lifting in the New Year.

“Financially, it will be a challenging period for those who were unable to lift crop during the drier weather and growers will be monitoring drainage and the depth of winter frosts carefully, as these will affect what’s salvageable.”

Historically 2012 was the last wettest year when 375mm of rain fell in the UK, but not as wet as the year 2000 when a total of 498mm hit the country, according to data from AHDB’s weather hub.