After months of hot dry weather, Irish potato growers are now concerned that a break in the weather could create ideal conditions for late blight to infect stressed crops.
According to a report, unsettled weather is expected for a least a week across Ireland with a mixture of sunny spells, heavy rain, rising temperatures and humid conditions expected. The forecast caused national meteorological service Met Eireann to reiterate a Status Yellow warning that current conditions are conducive to the spread of potato blight – which it expects is “likely to develop” in parts of west Ulster from 14 August.
The warning was first issues last Friday (10 August) and the forecaster also warned that, ‘Opportunities for both drying and spraying will be limited over the coming days’ which could create a perfect storm of conditions which favour disease development but prevent growers controlling its spread.
Photo Caption: Irish potato growers expect weather conditions to be ideal for the spread of potato late blight this week
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons
The post Irish potato growers worried by threat of blight appeared first on Hort News on 20 August 2018.
Potato growers in the Republic of Ireland have been urged to reduce their potato planting area for 2015 in order to improve prices.
Dr Denis Griffin of Teagasc commented, “Last year saw an oversupply of potatoes coming onto the market right across Europe, with prices falling accordingly. We continue to see a decline in potato consumption here in Ireland, so growers should err on the side of caution as they prepare for this year’s planting season. The reality is that potatoes remain a very expensive crop to grow, with costs before storage in the range €2,000/ac to €2,500/ac.”
He also urged growers to plant in the best conditions. “April 1 is the traditional target planting date in this country, but soils in many areas are still quite wet, particularly a couple of inches or so below surface level,” he said. “The preparation of a fine seedbed is critically important, where spuds are concerned.”
Teagasc hopes that its new variety Imagine could also improve margins, and has said that there is scope to increase the production of crops for chipping to replace imports from Europe.
“The fundamental bottom line is that growing potatoes as a commodity crop is no longer a feasible business option in this country,” concluded Dr Griffin. “Growers must develop a value added mentality.”
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