Relief for farmers

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RECENT sunshine and dry weather has given farmers new hope of saving their main-crop potatoes after weeks of rain resulted in one of the wettest autumns on record, making it nearly impossible to harvest the crops.

Charlie Gallichan

Farmers said that fields had been turned into unworkable ‘bogs’ due to the weather but now growers have expressed relief that much of the crop had survived.

One grower, who two weeks ago feared that he could lose up to 1,000 tonnes of potatoes, said he hoped to have gathered around 500 tonnes by the end of this week.

Charlie Gallichan, of Woodside Farms, said: ‘This has been the first good week of weather this harvest season, with Thursday being the first day that some of the fields were dry enough to be properly worked on.

‘So far, we have managed to get about 300 tonnes, a third of the crop, out of the ground and I hope to get another 200 tonnes out soon. We have been lucky that so much of the crop survived the rain but any potatoes which are in fields which are still waterlogged will be ruined.’

Mr Gallichan said that there was, however, a risk that as much of half of his crop could still have to stay in the ground, but that he would not know for sure for another week.

‘It feels like a bit of a lottery at the moment,’ he said.

‘I feel a lot more encouraged now that a lot of what we have brought in is in good condition but we aren’t out of the woods yet.’

William Church, from The Jersey Royal Company, said that while a dry December would be ‘favourable’ he was not too worried as they would not start to plant Jersey Royals until January

He said: ‘Right now, we aren’t affected but, in farming, whatever happens, you have to just take it on the chin and crack on.’

Krystle Higgins

By Krystle Higgins

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