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Despite much rain, British potato harvest is 89% complete

Despite the rain, British potato harvest is 89% complete

British farmers have persevered in the face of adversity to complete 89 per cent of the potato harvest during the wettest year so far since 2012.

November 17, 2019
British farmers have persevered in the face of adversity to complete 89 per cent of the potato harvest during the wettest year so far since 2012.

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.

David Eudall, Head of Arable Market Intelligence at AHDB:

“Farmers have worked through challenging conditions to harvest the majority of potatoes planted this year, which is 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.”
Current data shows that two-to-three per cent of the crop is now unlikely to be lifted due to saturated soils degrading quality.

David Eudall:

“This figure could rise as we head into December if weather conditions don’t improve. 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.
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AHDB Potatoes (formerly known as Potato Council) is a public body working on behalf of potato growers and purchasers to promote British potatoes.