This week, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) estimates that 15-20% of the potato harvest is yet to be completed. The past few weeks has practically put digging at a standstill.

However, local sources suggest that the figure may be lower than this. Approximately 20% of potatoes are yet to be dug in Co. Wexford. This figure is estimated at around 15% in Co. Louth, but the percentage of potatoes left to be harvested in Co. Donegal is estimated at approximately 5%.

Where farmers have tried to dig, it has taken its toll on ground and machinery and it is likely that much of the remaining crop will not be lifted until the springtime.

In Europe, only small percentages remain in the ground, while in the UK the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) estimated that – as of November 12 – approximately 11% of the UK crop remained in the ground.

The AHDB has released potato production estimates for 2019. At an average yield of 45t/ha, and an area of 118,593ha, the total production is estimated at 5.1 million tonnes.

It should be noted that the AHDB estimates losses of 3%, but this will most likely rise for the remaining potatoes in the ground.

Potato prices

As a significant amount of the Irish crop remains in the ground, potato growers are expecting a rise in prices, but this has not come yet.

At present, a box of Roosters is priced at a low of €330 and a high of €380, according to the IFA’s potato market report published on November 27.

Data source: IFA