Wet weather: major potato shortage looms due to persistent rainfall

A major potato shortage is looming next autumn because of the persistent wet weather this spring.

February and March are usually the times for planting potatoes, but only a tiny fraction of the 21,000 acre crop is in the ground at present.

The situation has been compounded by the continuing wet weather with no end in sight at present. Met Éireann is predicting that rainfall levels will be between two and five times higher than normal across Ireland in the coming week, with the wettest conditions expected in the West and southwest.

Met Éireann says soil conditions are likely to deteriorate further. All poorly-drained and some moderately-drained soils will be waterlogged and well-drained soils will become saturated.

This year’s difficulty follow on from a poor harvest last year caused by the wet autumn which made it difficult for machinery to access potato drills. Planting of this year’s crop has been delayed across northern Europe because of the bad weather.

Irish Farmers Association (IFA) national potato chairman Sean Ryan said normally between 60 and 70 per cent of the crop should be in the ground by now. Even in the best case scenario it will not be possible to plant potato seed for at least 10 days, even if it were to dry up tomorrow. He anticipated that there will be potato shortages from early summer onwards, when the first crop would normally be harvested.


Read the full article by The Irish Times here.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash