Late main crop potato harvest now on the cards

Ground conditions are holding up, so far, for potato growers in the North Dublin area, according to Derek Keogh, Farm Manager with Keogh’s Potatoes.

“But we are still well behind with this year’s harvest,” he said.

“In fact, we still have some crops to burn off, which is unheard of for us coming into the beginning of October.”

Speaking to Agriland, Keogh said that the harvesting delay can be traced back to very late planting dates achieved earlier this year.

And everything has backed up since then. It will take the full month of October to get all of our potatoes out of the ground.

“But if weather conditions deteriorate over the coming weeks, that could bring us into November, at which stage harvesting could become a real challenge,” he said.

Phelan also confirmed that early Rooster crops are yielding up to 20t/ac and he said that is an acceptable enough yield, while he added the yields from crisping varieties such as Lady Rosetta and Lady Clare are back on last year.

“Fields of Rosetta are yielding up to 22t/ac. That’s 2t short of where we would have been in previous years.

“But this is still an acceptable level of crop performance. Lady Clare, on the other hand, has been a challenging variety to grow this year,” he said.

Phelan also said that home grown potato prices have held up well this year, and this is certainly the case with Queen’s throughout the summer.

And I would be hopeful for this trend to continue, once we get into the main crop season. Growers in the Meath/Dublin area need a good price for their produce, as we have to store crop for most of the year.

Turning to the issue of consumer attitudes, where potatoes are concerned, Keogh noted the impact of the current, part-EU funded, potato promotional campaign.

“But we need to do more of this. Potatoes have a great story to tell. In our own case, we are joining forces with two other local business to promote the nutritional value of potatoes in Newbridge House, Donabate on October 8.”