Gran Bretaña: British potato farmers fear yields will be down
Robert Strathern, who farms at Wormingford, near Colchester, said it looks like his early crop of potatoes, which he may begin harvesting as early as July 9 onwards, could be down by 25 to 30% on the average.
“Potatoes are the main crop we grow,” he said. “They were planted late this year because of the cold and wet, horrible spring, then it’s flipped into hot, dry drought, so they have not established themselves as well.”
Robert, who grows more than 200 hectares of potatoes, now faces an anxious wait to see whether his main crop, which will be harvested in September, will recover.
He and his wife Laura run a highly successful crisp-making diversification, Fairfields Farm crisps, and have an on-site factory where they are made, using local flavours and ingredients where possible. Production won’t be affected as there will be enough potatoes to supply it, but he admitted as farmers they were concerned. “As a farming business, we grow potatoes for our own crisps production, but we also sell potatoes into the market place. It probably means we won’t have any potatoes to sell into the market place.”
Ipswichstar.co.uk explains that although his potato crops are irrigated to ensure they get enough water, when they reach temperatures of more than 25C, they stop growing, he explained. With temperatures regularly climbing above that by the middle of the day, crops have been affected.
“The potato crop in the UK will be a much smaller one. Yields will be hit and there will be a shortage of potatoes,” he said. “At this stage, every potato grower is looking at their crops and seeing stressed crops - the next month’s weather will really set it in stone."