Wet weather is causing trouble on farms all over the country. Potato farmers are badly affected and estimates from the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) are that a maximum of 30-35% of potatoes have been lifted.

While some farmers have been struggling in the wet weather to dig, others have only started this week. The late harvest, which is running approximately three weeks behind schedule, may cause other issues down the line.

Supply and quality may be issues, while potatoes for the crisp industry cannot afford to be hit by frost, or colour could become an issue if a wide digging window doesn’t appear soon. Potatoes for crisping account for approximately 10% of the overall potato acreage.

Following last year’s drought potato supplies were lower than normal and a dent in supply due to poor harvesting weather this season would also impact on supply.

This year’s potato harvest is in stark contrast to last season when land was too dry in some cases and bruising was an issue when harvesting. The majority of the main crop of potatoes was harvested by November in 2018.

Potato prices

At present, a new season box of roosters is ranging from €360/box to €400/box, while 10kg bags of Roosters are ranging from €3.90/bag to €4.60/bag. A box of Whites is averaging €370/box, while a 10kg bag of Kerr Pinks is averaging €5.20/bag.

These ex-farm prices are according to the IFA’s potato market report as of October 15.

Data source: IFA

In the same week last year (October 17, 2018), a new season box of Roosters was ranging from €515/box to €575/box in price, while 10kg bags of Roosters were €6.50-7.00/bag. Boxes of Whites ranged in price from €515/box to €575/box.