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Ed Leahy

BY ED LEAHY

Irish grower's potato yield could halve

Drought conditions are the same across the Irish Sea as potato supplier Meades buys new irrigator to battle dry spell

Irish grower's potato yield could halve

Meades Potato Company new irrigator

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Irish potatoes are also struggling in this summer's record heatwave according to County Meath growers Meade Potato Company, which could halve their production this year.

Growers Conor O-Malley, Robert Devlin and Philip Meade Jr. had to purchase a new irrigator to help combat “drought” conditions, that left the crop in danger of dying.

Farm Manager O’Malley predicted that even with this intervention, potato crops are at least three weeks behind schedule and yields are expected to be down by at least 50 per cent. 

Farmers across Britain, Ireland and Europe are battling to keep crops alive as one of the driest spells in recent history hits Britain.

The heatwave combined with the World Cup has also caused a summer shopping spree, with demand high for much fresh produce, making supply even tighter. Leady salads and carrots have been hardest hit as the crop stops growing in 30 degree heat.

According to AHDB crop report The NEPG (North-Western European Potato Growers) anticipates a 1% increase in the potatoes planted area for the 2018 season, compared to last year (including Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium and Great Britain).

But that increase may end up being negated by drought conditions, as the forecast across northern Europe continues to show little rainfall.

According to the AHDB: “Many regions of the NEPG countries are currently suffering from drought, and rainfall is not expected in most regions for the coming weeks. While prolonged drought has the potential to impact yields, the NEPG stressed that it is too early to make yield estimations.

“Should the crop received adequate precipitation over the next month, then the impact of the drought may be mitigated so some extent. If this is the case, then an increase in planted area combined with good yields is likely to results in a second year of oversupply for the continental market.”

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