Frost causes severe damage to early potato crops in Ireland– pictures

Freezing temperatures around Ireland over the past week has damaged many early potato crops.

Sub-zero conditions have caused severe damage to potato haulms in some areas around the country.

Nighttime temperatures this week dipped to -2.5°C in some areas, resulting in localized ground frost. Temperatures in Katesbridge, Northern Ireland, reached -6°C on 13 May.

Reports came through on Friday morning from growers around the country of damage to early and early-main crop potatoes. Damage to emerged foliage ranges from mild to severe.

Crops planted on low-lying land appear to have been worst affected.

'I never saw this before'

The Irish Farmers Journal walked one severely affected crop in east Donegal belonging to potato farmer Jamie Rankin.

Jamie explains that while no frost was forecasted, temperatures dipped to 0°C on 13 May which resulted in ground frost.

His early main crops of Rooster, Saxon, and Queens have all suffered frost damage to some degree.
 

Jamie's entire field has been damaged by frost.

However, his Rooster crop planted in the lower-lying ground appears to have suffered the brunt of the damage.

He has never seen this level of frost damage before. This crop was around 10 days from tuber initiation.

Damage

The damage is confined to foliage above the ground. Minimal foliage has emerged on early-main crop and main crops and these will likely recover with limited negative impact.

Early crops, which are more advanced, will likely be set back, meaning they could miss the early markets.

The extent of the damage is not likely to be confined to potato crops, with beet, vegetables, and heading winter cereals at high risk.

Help